The cover image of R'lyeh Antique. You can click on it for an enlarged version, as you can with most of the images in this document.
TRPGs (tabletop roleplaying games) have managed to attract a following in
Japan, but only in recent years (thanks to the efforts of Evan Cluney, among others) have
we begun to truly experience what kinds of TRPGs and gaming fun Japan has developed.
While enjoying Haiyore Nyarlko-san!, I noticed that the Call of Cthulhu TRPG was being mentioned regularly. What I did not know until reading it at Nyaru References, is that the show was also referencing a book which told what happened during a playthrough of the game. This book in question is by Uchiyama Yasujirou (内山靖二郎) and is titled "Ruruie Antiiku" (るるいえあんてぃーく), or "R'lyeh Antique". As a tribute to Nyaruko-san, Call of Cthulhu, and as a test of my own ability as a translator, I will be translating the book into English. 今るるいえあんてぃーくを英語に翻訳しています。 The document follows,and will be added to until it is completely translated. I've included ost and sfx for this book. You can open a youtube link in another tab and enjoy the music while you read, if you wish. A link marked SFX can be opened in a tab and left alone to play. Eventually I'm going to convert this to a PDF version so that people can read it on their e-reading gadget of choice. Parts of this translation will look better with the MGS2 Menu font installed. (It doesn't play nice with css, so we are doing this the old-fashioned way.)
Here are some Lovecraftian Japanese words and their English equivalents:
Byouteki (病的) - morbid, abnormal
Boutoku teki (冒涜的) - blasphemy, blasphemous
Magamagashii (禍々しい) - ominous, malign
Konton (混沌) - chaos, chaotic
Kinshi 菌糸 【きんし】 - fungous
Fukitsu 不吉 【ふきつ】 - ominous
Hiyukurido 非ユークリッド 【ひユークリッド】 - non-euclidean
Shiwakucha 皺くちゃ 【しわくちゃ】 - rugose
Iu ni iwarenu 言うに言われぬ 【いうにいわれぬ】 - unspeakable
If you need more Lovecraftian adjectives, we've got you covered .
You're thinking you can make any random thing belong to the Cthulhu Mythos by prefixing it with "unspeakable" or "blasphemous," aren't you?
-Yasaka Mahiro, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, Episode 2.
Keepers who want to run this with Secrets of Japan should make some alterations to the characters. For example, Sayaka-san does not have Bushido, but it would be very useful to combine Bushido with her Martial Arts skill tests as well as her checks to maintain composure. Bushido is detailed on p. 63 of SoJ. It starts at 10% for native Japanese Investigators but is 00% for foreigners. Bushido can be rolled to see through Bargain, Credit Rating, Fast Talk, or Persuade, but it can also deflect detection by the same (both parties can roll against Bushido; the character with the lowest roll wins.) If a social skill is seen through with Bushido, the Bushido user may deduce the person's true intentions or motivation. If using a Martial Art during an extreme time of stress, points in Bushido can be added to the Martial Arts skill during a skill test. An optional rule states that if a temporary insanity result is rolled, using the Bushido skill (once per gaming night) will allow an Investigator to negate the result.
If you are using those rules, I'd also recommend a specialization in Karate under Martial Arts. I also changed her Arts (Antiques) skill to Evaluate Treasure, as that skill is more appropriate for appraising the value of gems, rare objects, antiques, pieces of art, etc. I have also made one other edit: the characters start with EDU x4 percentiles in their own language, as per the rules in Secrets of Japan. The author of SoJ observes that Japanese has 2,000 ideographic characters as well as 2 other phonetic alphabets, making it one of the most difficult languages to learn (p63, SoJ). This is why the Own Language skill for native Japanese characters starts at EDU x 4 and not EDU x 5.
Other skills from SoJ that might be relevant can be found on pages 62 through 69. I didn't add Bushido to Sayaka's sheet because it would have affected the skill rolls her player already made in the game. Likewise, although SoJ states that native Japanese characters begin with a Martial Arts base skill of 15%, this hasn't been added to the sheets because it would affect rolls that were already made. SoJ can be used to add more Japanese artifacts and Mythos texts to this scenario if the Keeper feels the situation warrants it.
Finally, this translation is by heavens-feel.com . Feel free to link to it on your site, but don't host it there. This translation is updated frequently - I tend to add 2-3 pages' worth of material to it per week. Look towards the bottom of this long page for the updated text - it's always added at the end.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ R'LYEH ANTIQUE ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Translator's Notes: TRPG stands for table talk roleplaying game, and is a common acronym used by gamers in Japan. Replays are direct serializations of TRPG sessions (games experienced by players and run by a Storyteller, which in this system is called a Keeper of Arcane Lore, hereafter abbreviated as Keeper. The Cthulhu Mythos is a set of shared concepts created by H.P. Lovecraft and others in his 'circle of friends', including Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, Robert Bloch, and so on.) Japanese honorifics don't convert well into English, so I left them in. Niisan, Oniisan (brother, or older man), Neesan, Oneesan (elder sister, or older woman) You probably already know san, sensei, dono (lord), etc. ======================= Table of Contents ======================= - The Beginning p.003 - Prelude p. 004 - Introducing the Investigators p.007 - Previous Campaigns and Notes for the Keeper p.011 - Scenario I [The Case of the Handcrafted, Closed Polyhedron] p.13 Intermission, Conclusion, Miyako-chan's Reflections p.98 - Scenario II [ The Case of Pickman's Painting] p.103 Intermission, Conclusion, Miyako-chan's Reflections p.168 - Scenario III [ The Case of R'lyeh Company's Stolen Objects] p.173 - Conclusion of the Campaign, Reflections and Reminiscing p.244 - Final Thoughts p.250 - Wrapping Things Up: What is a TRPG? p.252 ======================= The Beginning ======================= OST:  This book is sold by EnterBrain. It is a replay of the Cthulhu Mythos TRPG (trans note: Call of Cthulhu) and, predictably enough, follows the format of replay books. Minato will explain these two concepts further. The Cthulhu Mythos TRPG is based on 1920s era fiction created by author H.P. Lovecraft. The concepts of the stories were then put into a TRPG. A foreign game company, Chaosium, published this game, and from the time TRPGs came to Japan it has continued to be loved by an eager base of users. The characteristic entities within the Cthulhu Mythos, if known by humans, would seem transcendent to human beings. Compared to them, Earth and the humans on it are so much dust. The predecessors who wrote these Cthulhu Mythos stories had created 'Cosmic Horror'. It has the ring of science fiction, doesn't it? And so, even within the Earth that will live in, secretly horrific beings lurk. But compared to those monsters who seek blood and meat from humans, or corrupted humans and devils, humans aren't paid much attention by malign entities. Among these beings, perhaps the most conspicuously powerful is Azathoth, who exists mindlessly in outer space, indifferent to all. But thanks to that, human civilization, even our existence itself, has been possible. Even so, there have been times when humans have made a furtive glimpse of this malevolent beings. This replay of the Cthulhu Mythos TRPG focuses on characters controlled within it, called Investigators within the parlance of the game. They don't have magic, ESP ability, or advanced weapons, but they do not silently wait to be sacrificed. That wouldn't be interesting. So to help them escape from this problem, they collect information, analyze it, use reasoning, occasionally collide with it, and make efforts to survive the situation. Even though this is a fantasy war, this is not an action movie. The characters are ordinary people like us. Armed with wisdom and bravery, they have a hard time overcoming these terrors from outer space. It is this type fo drama that makes the Cthulhu Mythos TRPG so pleasurable. Well then, let's look at the story of four souls who have become connected to a certain antique store, and enjoy their tale of cosmic horror. ======================= Prelude ======================= OST:  In place of a counter was an ancient desk I am sitting at, with my cheeks in my palms as I quietly watch over the store in the owner's absence. This place is on the outskirts of Tokyo, in an area dotted by houses, and is a small antique store. It is called 'R'lyeh Company. The shop's owner is my uncle, but due to his habit of wandering he rarely is here. So when it comes time for someone to look after the store, well, I have to do it. It's just your usual antique store, and it's messy and only has old things in it. No two things in the store are the same. On top of the desk, which showed fine workmanship, is a golden brooch. Also in view is a creepy-looking oil painting. This was not unexpected. It's an antique store. In addition to the other curios, it is also full of old books. Unfortunately I am not able to read books from other countries. Texts from ancient times included stone slabs of slate, or worn sheepskin scrolls. What about books? When it came to pricing them, whether they were expensive or cheap, I had no idea. No price tags have been affixed to them, and I wondered if the owner of the store wants to sell them or keep them. What a ridiculous store this is. Not many customers frequent it. Our best customer is Tatsumi-sensei. He is a professor at a famous university, and he seemed accomplished, like a doctor. He has written several books and even appeared on television a few times. I don't understand exactly what just what kind of professor he is. One time before, I tried to listen in on one of his talks. I'd studied psychology, but I wondered what the heck the man was doing. But to me, this distinguished professor has always been like a kind, knowledgable, and dependable uncle. There were times he'd help me with my English homework, and it never took him long to finish it. He uses English everyday and he is proficient with the language. When he comes here, Tatsumi-sensei always brings a maid with him. That wasn't a typo. She is a maid. She wore a black one-piece dress and an apron. So, someone fitting the otaku image of a maid. She is called Miyako-san, and I don't know her as well as Tasumi-sensei does. From listening to the two of them, I think that she lives in Tatsumi-sensei's house as a live-in worker taking care of the place, but I wonder what kind of relationship they have together. Maybe it's an adult relationship. But setting that aside, Miyako-san knows the layout and contents of the store well. Much better than I do, in fact. So when it came time for me to look after the store, there were many times when she would cover for me or help me out. The house where she lived is full of antiques, and while living among them, she gradually grew to know about them over time. It was only natural. I wonder how she grew up? Was she the young daughter of a rich family? If so, why is she working as a maid? The mysteries surrounding her only seemed to deepen. There was one other person I should mention. His name is Sasahara-san, and he was another customer of ours. He has a tall back and looks like an actor in a love scene. Everyday, after coming back from school, he works as a love story novelist. He seems like a man who would be very popular with the ladies. For the most part, he is always kind and good to the girls. He seems a little too witty for his own good, and he is not my type. Even though he writes love stories, he still likes forbidden things and horror. He didn't know Tatsumi-sensei, and as someone who only knew about strange things, wouldn't that ruin his writing? Because Sasahara-san is a university student with lots of free time, he often frequents our shop, carefully gazing at our many antiques. Dang it! I want him to stop window-shopping and buy something sometime. Oh yes. Me. My name is Higuchi Sayaka. I go to a high school near this neighborhood, and I'm in my second year of school. My speciality is karate. I have earned my black belt in the art, and my skill at kicking things has been recognized. From my childhood days, I admired spies and forged my body. Now, even before I knew it, I turned out this way. I've focused so much on karate that I've neglected my studies. Well, if you have a physical problem that requires strength, you should leave it to me. Wait, looking after this antique store doesn't require much strength or power, does it? That's what you'd normally think! But in this 'R'lyeh Company' store customers outside of the characters I described can occasionally be ... strange. Some are acquaintances of my uncle, some are people that happened to want to buy something, and some want the answers to mysteries. This part is seeming like an omen. Maybe I'll give an evildoer what for with a powerful karate kick! After all, there was that time - whoops! I have a customer now. Let's continue our talk later. I wonder what kind of person this customer will turn out to be? ======================= Introducing the Investigators ======================= OST: ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Higuchi Sayaka, High School Student, Age 17 STR 12 CON 16 DEX 15 Idea 75 SIZ 13 INT 15 POW 14 Luck 70 EDU 11 APP 17 SAN 70 Know 55 DB: + 1D4 Magic Points 14, Hit Points 15 Skills: Dodge 50%, Drive Motorcycle 25%, Evaluate Treasure 10%, Hide 25%, Jump 45%, Kick 50%, Listen 75%, Library Use 55%, Martial Arts 31%, Own Language (Japanese) 44%, Spot Hidden 75%, Persuade 55%, Photography 30%, Psychology 35%, Throw 45% Attacks Kick 50%, 1D6 + 1D4 (if the roll is under her Martial Arts skill, add another +1D6 damage). Quote: I'll solve this problem with a karate kick! Player Comments: The youngest of the investigators, this high school girl would be the hardest to integrate into the scenario. The Keeper suggested that I make her a relative of the one who owned the antique store, so I accepted graciously. She's a clear-headed, energetic, and positive young lady. As someone who looks up to the female characters in dramas, she is always training her body. She is proud of her ability to kick, dodge, and jump. She has no real knowledge when it comes to the antiques at the store, but she will ask some of the other Player Characters for advice during the times when she has to look after it. Please regard her favorably! Player Introduction (Mary): As the youngest player in the group, Mary had the least experience with the Call of Cthulhu TRPG. She is the weakest against mental shocks, and is the quickest to blow her fuse. She is likely to panic when experiencing cosmic horror. However, taking into account her limitations, she still thrusts forward when dealing with the unknown. Even so, her tendency to get in over her head must be acknowledged. At some point she's going to become a helpful 'older sister'-type character who someone else will follow. ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Tatsumi Gengoroh, Psychology Professor, Age 65 STR 12 CON 14 DEX 10 Idea 85 SIZ 9 INT 17 POW 14 Luck 70 EDU 23 APP 8 SAN 70 Know 115 DB: - Magic Points 14, Hit Points 12 Quote: This old man will respond to the case! Skills: Archaeology 14%, Anthropology 89%, Biology 52%, Credit Rating 89%, Chemistry 14%, Medicine 70%, Library Use 89%, Own Language (Japanese) 92%, Other Language (English) 81%, Persuade 89%, Pharmacy 14%, Psychoanalysis 89% Player Comments: Blessed with a high EDU, he poured many points into academic skills. Justly proud of his skill with English, he wants to read many grimoires. Good natured and well-informed, he is designed to be an aging lecturer. We calculated out his yearly salary and found that it was 50 million yen! I justified that by saying as a famous professor he also wrote a best-selling book. He's not the strongest or toughest character in this campaign, so physical tasks will best be left to the younger characters. Player Introduction (Age): Age is the oldest player. He is also someone who is very experienced with the Call of Cthulhu TRPG. As someone who is familiar with the rules of many games, he is a tough player when matched against any Keeper. He is the guy in gaming raids who plays the captain character leading the raid. Perhaps because of that, he's very useful for helping Keepers maintain the flow of a story. As the group scholar, he's the wise old man of the party. ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Anjinzuka Miyako, Hobbyist Maid, Age 20 STR 12 CON 18 DEX 14 Idea 50 SIZ 10 INT 10 POW 6 Luck 30 EDU 14 APP 16 SAN 30 Know 70 DB: - Magic Points 6, Hit Points 14 Quote: Service! Service! Skills: Astronomy 11%, Drive Automobile 50%, Electrical Repair 20%, Disguise 21%, Electronics 11%, Evaluate Treasure 70%, First Aid 40%, Geology 11%, Home Cooking 25%, Conceal 35%, Mechanical Repair 30%, Own Language (Japanese) 56%, Other Language (English) 11% Small Clubs 40%, Sneak 75%, Attacks: Frying Pan 40%, damage 1D6 + db Player Comments: I thought of many things I could have done, but in the end I decided on a maid. To be more specific, a meganekko (girl in glasses). She's the only servant at the house where she works. She has always admired Tatsumi-sensei for the books he writes, and asked him to let her be his maid. She wants to look after him, so she carries a fry pan for protection. She's eccentric and has confidence in what she does, One thing that troubles us is how low her SAN is. Hmm, will this be all right? Player Introduction (Takushi): He's a manga fan. He's especially fond of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. I don't understand a lot of the references he makes, but I did comprehend one or two Jojo quotes. I guess his play style could be called ''orthodox'' but upon seeing his true thoughts, one might say he is sensitive and has a lot of natural potential. He knows the Call of Cthulhu TRPG well, and has a lot of experience as a Keeper. He has pride in his ability to consider a Call of Cthulhu scenario from a Keeper's point of view. ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Sasahara Tamaki, University Student and Novelist, Age 20 STR 8 CON 16 DEX 18 Idea 75 SIZ 17 INT 15 POW 13 Luck 65 EDU 14 APP 14 SAN 65 Know 70 DB: - Magic Points 14, Hit Points 12 Quote: I don't think this is such a good idea ... Skills: Computer Use 15%, Drive Automobile 25%, History 89%, Library Use 75%, Listen 30%, Occult 89%, Other Language (English) 15%, Own Language (Japanese) 56% Navigate 50%, Persuade 50%, Psychoanalysis 15%, Psychology 50%, Spot Hidden 30%, Tracking 50% Player Comments: He's a novelist who loves history and the occult - which for an Investigator seems almost ordinary. He does what he is supposed to at his school, and after returning from his university, he pens romance stories. One might say he is sensitive to womens' hearts. He certainly lives by "Ladies First". The flipside of that is his general disinterest in men. Because of his interest in he occult and history, he regularly commutes to the antique store where Sayaka-chan works. Player Introduction (Hiroyuki): Crying 'moe-~!', he has created certain female NPCs for the Keeper like a doomed man. He loves lolita and older sister characters at the same time! Maybe that makes him like ambivalent women? In any case, he's very cautious.He always tries to find the best position. However, he sometimes finds out that he has dug his own grave. There are times when his hunches have proved to be quite accurate, and when he appears defeated he might find a way to reverse it. ======================= Previous Campaigns and Notes for the Keeper ======================= OST:  Now that we've begun this Cthulhu TRPG, the one who has been chosen as the Keeper (the Game Master, if you will) is none other than me. It'll be my job to make sure the Investigators and customers encounter each other. Basically, the Investigators are ordinary people, but for the purposes of the story I must find a way to get them involved with this scenario's big incident. Even if it means binding them in ropes! But jokes aside, it's difficult. I don't want them to come across the event by pure chance, especially if it happens over and over again. That comes across as forced and unnatural. It's also predictable if they keep getting hired to deal with something and then go off to investigate it. If I don't prepare a good hook ahead of time, expect to have a frosty reception once it's time to get the Investigators involved. If you look at an older replay of Cthulhu TRPG I wrote (New Era), throughout the whole book an association was used as the framing device for the adventure. I was able to get them to go after the target quickly and eventually go home after their journey was over. This campaign is going to be a little different. For starters, there's a big difference in scale. I want them to enjoy a 'sketch scenario' I put together. This one takes place in one store and poses a certain question to the Investigators - if they decide to answer it, the story really begins. With a touch of manga-like atmosphere or the early draft of a manuscript, I want to approach it with this cool, detached feeling. I'll give the players plenty of advance warning. There will be a type of pattern forming, and answering the question quietly brings them into the larger story. With luck, they'll take the hook without thinking too much about it. The difficulty of introducing the hook is present in many other RPGs, not just this one. Still, using this type of narrative device is okay, I think. Well, with all of that out of the way, I think I should be talking about the real thing. It'll be a blend of horror, mystery, and isolation while they are trapped indoors. I'll use plot elements like a landslide or heavy snow to down the phone lines and keep them from contacting anyone else while they're stuck in a mansion. Let's make them solve a murder in the mansion too! Maybe not. That kind of thing would not be out of place in a novel, manga, or video game. Lots of media use that kind of situation. And it's not so bad for the Cthulhu TRPG. I guess the focus for this session will be to get the Investigators together and accept the conditions of the story. There's always the possibility that things won't turn out the way I anticipated and I'll be thrown off point. If they lose focus, I can also seal them in the location like I discussed before. Okay, sealing them in a narrow space like I plan to, the chances of the players doing something other than what I anticipate and derailing my story will be reduced significantly. This is a joy for any Keeper. In order to keep the place interesting, I'll need to step up the number of events. They'll have nowhere to run and no help will be coming, so I should be able to scare them silly. That too is pleasure for a Keeper of Arcane Lore. Hmm. Going along with my original plan, a certain customer will visit Sakaya-chan's store, and that will start the scenario. I guess the other Investigators will go to cover for Sayaka-chan and help her out. I won't have any skill to persuade them to jump through that hoop, and if they can't get the hint I'll need to find another reason for them to go there. If I have another young lady pop up, one claiming to be fans of their novels, they'll gobble up her story like a goby. Without a doubt. I notice that the player of the professor character dropped a lot of points into Other Language (English). I ought to leave a grimoire around for him to find and read. All of this will be in the mansion. If you've read this far, you know some hidden information the Investigators don't! Such as how they are going to be trapped in a mansion and deal with a murder mystery. There will be a sad fight over inheritance that could be rather painful. There'll be some kind of development such as a bad relative will target the fortune of the man who was killed. Bad people will try to find the inheritance he left behind. If I somehow blend in the Cthulhu Mythos ... ah, I see it. I see it in my mind's eye. Let's do this. ======================= Scenario I [The Case of the Handcrafted, Closed Polyhedron] ======================= -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Date with a Childhood Friend -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST: [Note: This takes place right after the characters have been created. The players and Keeper have assembled to play a game at their usual spot, a certain karaoke box in Shinjuku. The players will be referred to by their character's names. The gamemaster (called a Keeper of Arcane Lore) will hereafter be abbreviated as KP.] KP: I guess it's finally time to begin a new campaign, but I just got a call from Tatsumi-sensei's player. He's going to be late because of work. Sayaka: That's not good. I feel uneasy now. KP: And on top of that, I forgot my dice. Miyako: Again? Sasahara: I'll let you borrow mine. KP: Thanks for that. I'd like to use 2 D10s. Sasahara: Here you go. KP: Okay, now that I've caused you trouble by borrowing your dice, I'll roll to see how much damage you all take. Sayaka: What!? Miyako: Sasahara-kun, if it's this guy you should only loan him one D4! KP: Well, until Tatsumi-sensei's player gets here, why don't we amuse ourselves by hearing Sasahara's introduction? Sasahara: Yes, yes. KP: The three months of this season, similar days have started to run together, but summer continues to creep forward towards you. Sasahara, you've managed to attract a young lady you knew from your childhood and have been driving her around in your car. Sasahara: Just like that, a childhood lady friend!? My LOVE QUEST is over! I'll try hard to keep this one (lol). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Types of Dice Hello! I am Miyako, and my favorite type of die is the D8. During our talk, we mentioned things like the D4 and the D10. These terms refer to the kind of dice they are. In TRPGs, unusual dice are used, and they are mostly referred to by the names they have in English. The cubes you use in most games would be called 'D6'. I think you understand now. To roll 3D6, you roll 3 'D6' and total the results. When it's time for a skill test or resistance check in the games, we use the verb 'Roll' to refer to rolling the dice. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Attributes Hello! I am Miyako, and my favorite Attribute is EDU. In the Cthulhu TRPG, Investigator characters have eight Attributes. They are decided by rolling dice and adding modifiers, if they are any to add. Rolling up characters randomly like this means there are many characters who won't 'make the cut' as Investigators. I wonder if there are some players who 'massage' the results they get. Translator's Note: A description of the eight main Attributes follows. This information is very redundant for Keepers and Players, so I haven't included it here. It contains information like STR influencing the damage you can do with Punch, Kick, and so on. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: What kind of person is she? KP: She's called Oue Tomomi. She's one of your seniors and is older than you by two years. You generally feel good towards her. She's got a very frank character. You two have continued as friends for a while now. Sasahara: So right now, I'm in the middle of a date with this knowledgable neesan? KP: Sounds good. For some reason today you've given up the driver's seat to her. She's driving you somewhere. Sasahara: What? [Tomomi-neesan, where are we going?] KP: (As Tomomi) [I've been working as a housekeeper. I'm driving to pick up the lady of the house.] (to readers) In this replay, in character dialogue will be in brackets to distinguish it from OOC discussion. Sasahara: [Tomomi, you're working as a housekeeper?] KP: (As Tomomi) [That's right, as a professional housekeeper. After graduating with a degree in Home Economics, I started working for the CEO of a large company. I'm sure you know the firm.] Sasahara: [Wow. I bet that the work can be difficult sometimes. It turns out I already know someone that works as a maid, though she's half-joking.] Miyako: Hush. That's going a little too far. KP: (as Tomomi) [Today I've got an errand to run at Rinkan school, so our plan to have a little fire at that lodge have been cancelled. Sorry to spring that on you so suddenly.] Sasahara: [Ah, what a shame.] KP: [Every year, for customary reasons that event seems to get cancelled. In return, after I run this errand, how about we go anywhere you want to?] Sasahara: I get to choose? KP: [You write stories for girls, so I bet you know some good spots to take them.] Sasahara: So we're going to be picking up a young girl? I can feel excited just thinking about it. (lol) KP: Man, this guy is . . . Sayaka: Tomomi-san chose the wrong person for her boyfriend! (lol) KP: But for Sasahara-san, who is at Tension MAX, that last comment was probably something he said under his breath. Sasahara: [Yes, what is it?] KP: (as Tomomi) [The girl we'll be picking up is Oze Yuika-chan. She's in the fifth grade of elementary school. Three years previously, she lost her parents in an accident on a mountain.] Sasahara: [That's terrible. That poor girl.] KP: [That's not the end of the story. Two weeks before, her uncle, who took custody of her, suddenly died.] Sasahara: [There's no end to her bad luck.] KP: [Her uncle was in poor health before though. Her uncle Touzo was in charge of a large firm as the CEO, and she's grown up in a rich environment because of his wealth.] Sasahara: [Well, she's a girl who's been influenced by many difficult things.] KP: [Because of that, I was trying to use Rinkan School to make her feel better and bring out more cheerfulness.] Sasahara: [Roger that! Why don't we try to spend a nice day with her as a present?] KP: [That's good. As it turns out, she's a fan of your novels.] Sasahara: [If you say that, it makes me want to try even harder! Let's give her a copy of my newest book!] OST:  KP: Once you arrive in front of the train station, you see a young girl next to a large suitcase that has been put on the ground. She's fidgeting nervously. She sees you, and yells 'Stop! Stop!'. She also starts hitting Sasahara on the shoulders. This must be Yuika-chan. Sasahara: We'll bring her into the car and do introductions there. KP: She's wearing her hair in twin-tails (translator's note: Like Tohsaka Rin from Fate Stay Night or Hiiragi Kagami from Lucky Star). From what you can tell, she seems like a sweet little girl. She's a little shy and very excitable. After she is introduced to you, she calms down, and with a very quiet voice tells you 'Good afternoon' in greeting. Sasahara: [You're one of my fans! Here, this is my newest work. If you feel up to it, will you read it?] KP: When you do that, she looks over the book you just handed to her and makes a mysterious face. She's just met the real author of her favorite books. He's right in front of her and she doesn't know what to do. Please make a (Credit Rating) roll. Sasahara: I've only got the base 15%. (Rolls dice) Ah, I failed. KP: You come across as a frivolous person, totally unlike a real author. She looks at you from a distance, with doubting eyes. Sasahara: She doesn't believe me! She doesn't believe me! KP: In your afterword you've included expressions like 'Kyaah!' and a discussion of sweet things. Perhaps she thinks the book was really written by a female author. Sayaka: You're writing about things like that (lol)? KP: Tamaki comes across as a girly name, so you must have been hiding the fact that you're actually a man. Sayaka: How complicated. KP: But when it comes to writing girls' novels, maybe it makes sense that the author would conceal the fact he was a guy. Sasahara: I'll quietly tell her the idea for my next book and improve her mood that way. KP: Sasahara-san, what kind of book are you going to write? Sasahara: A tale of romance that has lasted through history. Romance in the Heian age, or in the Sengoku period. Something that will be very popular with the ladies who love history. KP: Okay. Try a skill test against your (History) rating. Sasahara: (rolls dice) Made it. [My next work will be about Naoe Kanetsugu's life and times.] KP: [Eh, Kanetsugu!? He'll be in the story? If he's in there, what about Kagekatsu? Or Mitsunari?] she says. I think you managed to pique her interest (lol). Sashara: I've got her hook, line, and sinker! (lol) KP: She says that [All three were bad natured, so they must have had some hidden good spots.] Sayaka: Yuika-chan loves history. Sasahara: [Yes, yes! Of course they did!] Matching her points, I try to smooth out the rough spots and keep the conversation flowing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Uniting the Team at the Antique Store -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Skills Hello! I am Miyako, and my favorite Skill is Geology. In the game, whether the Investigators succeed or not depends upon whether they can make skill tests. These are decided with dice rolls. Earlier, Hiroyuki (TN note: Sasahara's player) had to roll under his Credit Rating skill, which was at the base percentage of 15 - which was hard for him to roll under. In the Cthulhu RPG, most tests can be made by rolling under a number. The dice we use for that make up a D100 (either two D10s or a really big die that Indiana Jones would run away from in a temple.) As you can see, the rules are very easy to remember. Maybe that's one reason why the game has lasted so long. By the way, there are many more Skills on a character sheet than the limited ones our Investigators chose to specialize in. Examples include things like Fast Talk or Accounting. When will we need to use these? Nevertheless, a Keeper must sometimes call for skill tests against these in the scenario. To do otherwise would be careless. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ OST: ============= Keeper's Notes: ============= Following their discussion, they took Yuika to an amusement park. Tatsumi-sensei's player arrived after that. KP: Since Tatsumi-sensei is here, I want to cut away from this scene over to Sayaka-chan, who is looking after the antique store. Sasahara: I wanted to play some more with Yuika though ... KP: Sayaka, who was through with school for the day, has made it over to the store. It's now evening, and time for you to open it for business. Sayaka: My uncle is managing it. KP: The shop is named 「 R'lyeh Company 」. Tatsumi: Who gave the store such a stupid name? (lol) Miyako: It sounds like the name of a shop built in the middle of the ocean. KP: It's okay. It's on the outskirts of Tokyo. It's an ordinary building that's fairly isolated from everything else. It has been converted into an antique store. Your uncle is a 40 year old man named 'Kata Randoru'. He is a fairly strange man. Tatsumi: Wait a moment! That name! Miyako:'Kata Randoru' ... 'Randorufu Kataa' (Randolph Carter) (lol)! Tatsumi: I bet your uncle has some wonderful dreams. Sayaka: Sorry, I don't follow. KP: In Lovecraft's stories, there are many places a character can go, like outer space or the world of dreams. Randolph Carter was a superstar in places like those. Examples of these stories include 「 The Statement of Randolph Carter 」 or 「 The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath 」. Those two are very interesting, so I think you should read them. Sayaka: So you're saying that hero is my uncle? KP: Well, he has a similar name. I wanted to remind you of the real Randolph Carter with it, and perhaps make you suspect the origin of the many odd objects in your antique store. In truth, there's a kind of 'unity' they have. In addition to used goods and objects of art, there are ancient books, rare stones, and paintings of various things. Tatsumi: Basically, in these huge stacks and rows, her uncle has assembled a set of things that suit his tastes (lol)? KP: So I guess Tatsumi-sensei is going straight over to the store, correct? Miyako: If Tatsumi-sensei is going, I will also. After I properly set up my maid outfit, I'll accompany him. Tatsumi: This is kind of embarrassing. Miyako: Why? Why is it embarrassing? Tatsumi: Because it's like you're really my maid (lol). Miyako: As Tatsumi-sensei's live in maid, this Investigator thinks Tatsumi-sensei should have gotten used to it by now. Tatsumi: Is that all you have to say!? Miyako: Well no, as someone who was touched by the books you wrote, I want to help you with your work just a little bit. That's why I pushed you to accept me as your maid. Tatsumi: Again you hit me with those reasons (lol). Miyako: If you have odd jobs, I'll liberate you from them. You'll be able to concentrate on your studies. Everyday I'll do my best to give you the best quality of service. Tatsumi: All right, all right. In any event, let's pay a visit to 「 R'lyeh Company 」. KP: On that note, I need to point out that since Randoru is not there today, your neice Sayaka will be stuck looking after the shop all by herself. Tatsumi: Where is he? Sayaka: [Oh, he's ...] Wait, where is he anyway? KP: He went out a few days earlier. He hasn't come back yet. Sayaka: What!? KP: As he lives a nomadic existence, it's not unheard of for him to be absent for weeks at a time. while he's not there, it's your job to look after the store. After school, or in the free time you have on your days off. Sayaka: Won't that make the place go bankrupt? KP: Sometimes things that seem like junk to you sell for an astronomical price, so it seems like the place will stay afloat thanks to that. Sayaka: So will Tatsumi-sensei explain why Randoru-ojisan is off on another journey? Tatsumi: [Well, it isn't anything strange, really.] I make that offhand remark while I scan the store for anything that catches my eye. KP: As one of the store's regular customers, when she's stuck working the store alone you'll sometimes give her lots of advice like a helpful grandfather. Hint, hint. Tatsumi: Right. [Concerning these antiques, Miyako-kun is very knowledgeable so if you have anything you're unsure about, ask her lots of questions.] Miyako: Are there any strange books lying around? KP: Roll (Library Use). Miyako: (rolls dice) Oh snap, I failed. KP: Well then, you come across a book about Japanese cooking that was published in America in the 18th century. The book itself is unusual but the material in it is not; you don't think it will be very useful except perhaps as a collector's item. Miyako: [Tatsumi-sensei, I want to get this!] (lol) Tatsumi: Why go to all that trouble of buying a pointless . . . [Sayaka-chan, how much are you asking for the book Miyako's holding?] Sayaka: Umm ... [32,000 yen.] Tatsumi: Ugh, that's expensive (lol). KP: Do you have any reason for asking that much? Sayaka: No, just a feeling. Miyako: [Sensei, buy it! Buy it!] Tatsumi: [Can you read this book?] Miyako: [If you translate it for me into Japanese, I'll be able to make all kinds of delicious food for you!] (translator's note: I suspect the book will have many substitutions for when the actual ingredients are too difficult to procure - it most likely won't be 'authentic'.) Tatsumi: [What a troublesome task! For pete's sake ...] Sayaka: [Thank you very much for your purchase! ☆] Tatsumi: Before I knew it, I ended up buying that thing! (lol) KP: While you guys were doing that, a customer comes into your store. He's wearing a hand-sewn suit and has the air of a respectable businessman. He looks like he's in his 40s. OST: Sayaka: [Irashaimase!] KP: After you greet him, he asks [Hey, where is the owner of this place?] with a very arrogant manner. Sayaka: [I am sorry, but the owner is currently out.] KP: He hears you say that and then responds with [What did you say!?] in a very angry voice. His face is turning red. Sayaka: [How may I help you?] KP: [YOU can't! I had a job for the owner himself! He was supposed to be ready by now!] Sayaka: Wow, this guy's mad. Did I hear anything about this from my uncle? KP: No, you didn't. Not a word. Sayaka: [What kind of arrangement was supposed to take place?] KP: Sayaka-chan, you need to make a (Credit Rating) test. Sayaka: There's no way a high school girl would have Credit Rating! All I've got is the base 15%! (Rolls dice) Huh, I succeeded. (lol) KP: Oh! Hmm. Well, the man seems to calm down a bit. You think that he's starting to trust you. He begins telling you about the job. (KP's comment: I had originally planned for Tatsumi-sensei to step in and help after she failed her skill test.) Commentary: What Sayaka-chan first heard was the man's name, Oze Sougo. He came to Randoru with an emergency request. Randoru had an extremely complicated object made of wood, and he absolutely had to open it. There was even a certain due date when it had to be done, which was today! In order to get that done, he had come here. Sayaka: I think I'll look in the back of the store for anything that will be useful. KP: I think it'll be hard for you to do that in such a crowded, overstocked store. I'll have you make a (Spot Hidden) test. Sayaka: My (Spot Hidden)'s at 75% and I have pride in it. (Rolls dice) And that's a success. KP: A lot of documents and other objects have piled up. After looking carefully over the stuff arranged on Randoru's desk, you find the object Oze was talking about. The object is about as wide as a tennis ball. It has 12 sides. It might be made of wood, but as you look at it and tap it against something you realize it is as hard as stone. The box is one of those mystery puzzles. Unless you know the trick, you won't be able to open it. Sayaka: Why not just open the cap? KP: It won't open. Sayaka: Oh snap. Well ... I'll ask Miyako-san for help on this one. KP: When you ask her she replies with [Oh, is that so?] That response isn't very satisfying. Oze tells you that the puzzle contains a will that must be read at 11 o'clock tonight, and the box is the last possession his dead uncle left to him. Tatsumi: This keeps getting stranger and stranger. KP: If things keep up like this, your group won't be able to open the box. Sayaka: Can it even be opened? KP: If you wrack your wits, you might come upon the answer. Tatsumi: I'll try to lend a hand. [Well, well. no need for us to fight over this. Let's try to find a way to open this by tonight. We'll report what we find and will resolve this peacefully.] Can I make a (Persuade) roll? KP: You may. Tatsumi: I've got an 89% in (Persuade). (Rolls dice) I easily pass the test. KP: I'm going to rule that he knows of you and your work. [Well, if a famous professor like Tatsumi-sensei says so, I'll believe it.] He says that while wringing his hands. Miyako: How very much like you, sensei! I admire how cool you are! ============= Keeper's Notes: ============= After that, their very disagreeable friend left. Once he had gone, the Investigators huddled around the item, trying to figure it out. Miyako: I'll use my (Evaluate Treasure) skill (rolls dice). I passed the test. KP: It's certainly put together well, but as far as you know, no one else has seen this kind of box before. Aside from the beauty of it, which anyone would recognize, you can't find anything that would indicate its relative value or its past history. Miyako: It's unknown and basically brand new to the art world. KP: You're not sure how many parts there are in the box, but after a while you think you are starting to see how they move. Make a roll against your INT. Miyako: There's even a time limit. Didn't Randoru leave any notes out for us to find concerning this object? Sayaka: Let me have a look at it. KP: Try a (Spot Hidden) roll. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Swing and a hit. KP: Sayaka-chan finds something on top of a mountain of Randoru's papers. It looks like it has part of the solution to the box puzzle you have. Using it doesn't completely ease the difficulty of solving it, but it does help you through the process of doing so. Thanks to these notes, you're about halfway through solving the puzzle. Sayaka: If only he had finished all the work himself. KP: Now that you've done that . . . Miyako-san witnesses something extraordinary! Miyako: [Kyaaa! What a shock!] (lol) Sayaka: [What is it, Miyako-san?] KP: The piece of the puzzle that Miyako-san was working on suddenly loosens, falls off, but slides back into its original spot. Tatsumi: [What an amazing machine. If it is a machine.] KP: Now that you've all witnessed that phenomenon, I want to call for an Idea check. Everyone, roll those bones. Tatsumi: For some reason, I hope I don't make this roll. KP: Hush now. Roll for it. ============== Keeper's Notes: ============== If you see something awful, horrible, or unearthly and make an Idea roll, you might become aware of some terrible truth about existence. For the most part, that's why people don't like rolling Idea tests in my games. Miyako, Sayaka, Tatsumi: We all made the check. OST:  KP: Congratulations. As you watch the piece return to its original position, you realize how impossible the construction of this item really is. It reminds you of an ambulatory part of a hive or a mollusk. That's the image that comes to mind. And the unwholesome material its made of moves once more. All of you, please a Sanity roll. (evil lol) Miyako: This thing is alive! (lol) Sayaka: Nuuooooooo! (lol) Tatsumi: Of course, things are gonna go South. (rolls dice) Made my SAN roll. Sayaka: Whew! Made mine too. Miyako: Oh dear, I only have 30 SANity. (rolls dice) I failed my check! KP: For those who made your rolls, deduct 1 SAN from your current score. Those who failed the rolls lose 1D3 SAN. Miyako: That seems like a lot. KP: You thought this was an ordinary box puzzle, but it suddenly began moving in an irregular, unwholesome, and frightening way. To describe it with our words, I'd say it moves like a stag beetle or a cockroach. Miyako: That's pretty gross, but to lose 1D3 SAN over it ... (rolls a D3) Urk, lost 2 points. I'm at 28. Tatsumi: 69 points left over here. Sayaka: I also have 69 points remaining. Miyako-san, are you in a 'San-chi-pinch'? Miyako: I'm okay. I'll hold it together. I'm holding it together. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Ability Rolls Hello, I am Miyako, and my favorite food is Thai curry! When the Keeper asked us to roll Idea, he had us roll against a statistic in the game that's a little different from our other skills. Certain values are derived from our Statistics, which then are treated as Ability Rolls. Idea is (INT x5), and represents our raw reasoning ability. Know is (EDU x5), and that one stands for the sum of our learning and factual knowledge. Even if we can't speak or read them, we can at least identify foreign languages with Know tests. Luck is (POW x 5), which unsurprisingly represents how lucky we are. Luck rolls are handy for getting out of dangerous situations. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tatsumi: This is no ordinary object, that's for sure. Sayaka: But if we don't open this, the honor of our store will be sullied. Let's find the answer using the notes Randoru-san left out for us. KP: Speaking of which, the handwritten instructions are very hard to read. His penmanship is questionable at best. Make an (Own Language [Japanese]) roll to read it. Tatsumi: I might be the best one for that job, and then Sayaka-chan, who has a high INT score, could be the one to solve the puzzle. Miyako: It would seem that way. It looks like I'm not very useful right now, so maybe I could cook up some dinner for you while you two work (rolls dice). Ah, I didn't make the check. KP: You didn't fail the roll by much, though. I rule that the food just made is safe to eat and nutritious, but not particularly tasty. Miyako: I did it! Tatsumi: (eating) [Hmm . . . This isn't bad.] is what I'll say while maintaining a neutral expression. Sayaka: [Thanks! Next time you should teach me how to cook (munch, munch) . . . wait, never mind about that. I'm good.] (lol) Miyako: My dignity as a maid is on the line! I know, I'll study the book you bought for me today. Oh snap, it's written in English! KP: Getting back to the game, Tatsumi-sensei works on the notes. We'll check on your progress as the time in game progresses to 21:00. Make an (Own Language [Japanese]) roll for me, please. Tatsumi: I doubt I'll mess this one up (rolls dice). Made it. KP: While translating and working through the notes, Tatsumi-sensei occasionally stops to give advice to Sayaka-chan. Sayaka-chan, if you can make an (Idea) roll, you'll be able to open the box. Sayaka: An easy job (rolls dice). Made the roll. KP: The last part is proving very hard to move. It seems like that one part got wider as you solved the other sections of the puzzle. It's as if there's a mechanism in there that is working to prevent you from opening the box. Worse still, you're running out of time. Tatsumi: Is it 23:00 now? Sayaka: If only I could move that one part, I'd be able to open this for certain. KP: Probably correct. You don't understand what the part is with your intellect, but by "feeling" you believe you're starting to get it. Sayaka: If that's the way it is, maybe the secret is getting the part into one place. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Sanity Rolls Hello, I am Miyako, and my favorite phrase is "quiet, easy, and comfortable living". The Sanity Roll has finally made its appearance. This is a big part of some of the most important rules in the Cthulhu TRPG. Just hearing the name of it alone conjures up a certain kind of image in the minds of many people. In practical terms, when Investigators come across the uncanny and unearthly, they have to pass a check. SAN (Sanity) is a value equal to an Investigator's POW x5. When a character comes across a horrific thing, his player must roll under the character's SAN on D100. If he does, the character makes the check. Functionally speaking, that aspect of the mechanics is not very different from a standard skill test. What happens afterward is different. If the character makes the check, he will lose only a little or no SAN. If he fails it, he might lose a lot of SAN. The amount of SAN lost depends on the scale of the encounter. Meeting a Diety class entity might incur a SAN loss of D100! There's no easy way to recover them during the course of a Scenario either. During the course of play SAN gradually gets chipped away, and it becomes harder and harder to pass Sanity checks, causing the loss of even more SAN. Truly a bad place to be! This wonderfully captures the mind-breaking horror of Lovecraft's malignant alien gods. My own SAN isn't that great. The risk of my failing a check is there, and it might happen anytime. Who knows when that will happen? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Mansion in a Storm -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST: [Ambient SFX] The place owned by the Sougos was to the West of Tokyo. After passing the metropolitain area of Tokyo, you'd be heading to a place deep in the mountains. On top of that, with the worst kind of timing, a downpour would start, filling your evening with heavy rain. With effort, the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. Sayaka-chan, who was solving the puzzle, raced against the clock to get every piece in place by the deadline. As she worked alone in concentration, the storm arrived to interrupt her. KP: Miyako, what vehicle are you driving? Miyako: A sports-type station wagon with four seats. As Drive (Automobile) is my specialty, we're racing along in the rain (rolls dice). There we go, a success. KP: Wait, Sasahara's car was a station wagon? Sasahara: Yes, it seats up to eight people. It's one of the kind that anyone can drive. Because a lady is driving, I'm sure that this trip will be completely safe. KP: Hmm. After playing with Yuika at the amusement park, you guys had dinner with her. After that, you two prepared to drive her home. You're now en route during this storm. The rest of you guys see their powerful station wagon in the rear view mirror of your own car. Tatsumi: It seems that Sasahara is heading to the same place we are. Miyako: As we're driving quickly, we must be passing them at an extreme speed from behind. (lol) Sayaka: I bet Miyako-san's personality changes when she's behind the wheel. (lol) KP: (Tomomi) [The maid driving the sports car that just passed us is giving us a hateful stare!] Sasahara: [What was that just now?] KP: The car that you're passing holds one of the regulars of your shop! It's Sasahara-san's station wagon. For some reason two ladies are looking back at you from inside it. When you look closer, you see that one of them is a young girl - she must be an elementary school student. Tatsumi: [Oh, Sasahara-kun! You've finally crossed that line!] (lol) Miyako: [This is terrible! Sayaka-chan, contact the police!] (lol) Sayaka: [Wait, a kidnapping? Is this a kidnapping?] Sasahara: [Who's a kidnapper!?] (lol) KP: Okay, the two of you have a sort-of car chase. As the race continues, you leave the national highway and exit onto a local road. You see that you're headed towards a certain site in the middle of a forest. The pavement you're driving on develops a steep slope. You see a structure ahead. About three cars are parked in a large garage. Your two cars come to a stop near it. Sayaka: Wow, what a mansion! So, in the middle of a raging storm, we've arrived at a creepy house in the middle of the woods. It sounds like we're being boxed into a situation. (lol) KP: Sayaka-chan, that's a promise I don't have to say ☆ (evillol) Tatsumi: In any case, now that we've stopped let's hear the truth about Sasahara-kun's kidnapping a child. Sasahara: So why are you treating me like that just because I have a little girl in the car with me!? Note: And after that, the Investigators began to exchange information back and forth. Sashahara: [So I'm giving Yuika-chan a ride home. What were you saying about that?] Sayaka: [We are here as part of our work at R'lyeh Company.] Miyako: [Look at this. This horrible wood carving is alive. Look at it move. Look at it.] (lol) Sasahara: [No, stop! Don't make me look at it!] KP: Okay, Sasahara, now that you've seen that object's freakish movement, you need to pass a Sanity test (lol). Sashahara: (rolls dice) Made my test. I only lose one point. I'm down to 64 SAN points. KP: Since you were going to see it at some point anyway, maybe it's good we got that out of the way. (lol) Sasahara: Okay, that creepy wood puzzle's got my attention. I want to make an (Occult) roll. (rolls dice) Made my roll. Do I know anything else about that construct? KP: Yes. Among certain maniac circles this object is known. You know that beneath the surface of this cursed object, locked away, is some kind of power. Sasahara: Sounds like the kind of object I read about in cosmic horror stories. The more I think about it, the more I want to open it. KP: As Tomomi listens to all of you talk, a dubious look starts to form on her face. You're talking about strange religions in the middle of nowhere, next to a mansion in a heavy rain. Sasahara: And wasn't the will left behind by Yuika-chan's relatives rather strange? KP: [This rain is awful and we're standing in front of the door to this place.] says Tomomi as she opens the front door. It's as if she's being beckoned inside. Sasahara: I guess we go inside too. I want to meet this uncle of hers. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ OST  (TL Note: A list of NPCs follows.) ====== Notes: ====== Oze Sougo, 46 years old Nephew of Sougo. One of the people who are the guardians of Yuika. He works for Oze Tokura's company, which is a commercial trading group. He is one of the managers in accounting, and has an arrogant attitude. He looks like someone who only cares about work. Sasae Emiko, 43 years old Sougo's little sister. Showy and loud, she loves to dress in traditional Japanese kimono. She has never known trouble or hardship in her life, and often severely objects to the opinions of her older brother. Saeki Masahiro, 38 years old Emiko's husband. A manager at Tenno Trading Company. He's making investments for Emiko in a venture firm. The sparkle has drained from his life and he feels trapped in a bad situation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sasahara: Ah, I get it. You've lined up the usual bunch of people fighting over succession to the family inheritance. Tatsumi: There'll be some kind of secret that Detective Conan will reveal (lol). Sasahara: No, that will be Sayaka-chan's task. Sayaka: You can leave all of that to me. With this kind of setup, there'll be a serial killing, right? Sasahara: Don't say you're happy when you come across ill omens. KP: Okay then, Emiko-san suddenly cries out in a hysterical voice [Yu-Yuika-chan! Why are you here?] Sasahara: Guess it's my turn. [That's my line. They said her relative's will would be unveiled tonight. But I don't understand why Yuika has to be here.] KP: (Emiko) [ . . . Who are you?] Sasahara: [Tomomi-san's childhood friend!] KP: (Emiko) [ What on earth do you mean? ] Sayaka: Sasahara, that means you have no relation to them at all! (lol) Sasahara: I know that ... but I'm not going to give up here. [Rather than criticize my being here, isn't it bad for all of you to force Yuika-chan to sit through this?] KP: At that, Emiko starts to falter and withdraws. Sougo jumps into the conversation. [How rude! What is your business with us?] Tatsumi: Why did these sticky characters get entertwined? KP: (Sougo) [She has to be here. It's part of the conditions specified in the will.] Sasahara: [Of course it'd contain something bizarre like that.] KP: (Sougo) [We have proof.] With that, he produces a document written by Touzo. The handwriting seems to be his. ====== Notes: ====== The reading of the will was supposed to happen at a particular day and time, and the puzzle had to be solved by a specific deadline. Yuika and her guardian had to be present at the reading. Sasahara: Hmm, this looks like Touzo's handwriting. Let's ask Tomomi to confirm that it's his. KP: (Tomomi) [There's no mistake this is the Master's . . . but what is this?] Tomomi looks as if she's very surprised. Sasahara: [What's going on?] KP: (Sougo) [Every year Yuika is allowed to attend Rinkan School and we say nothing. We don't want to remind her of Uncle Touzo.] Sasahara: [Yes, Tomomi-neesan. It looks like this is their responsibility. What should we do?] Sayaka: He has suddenly become quite meek. (lol) KP: Tomomi says [I don't think we should leave the reading of the will just to these people. We don't know what will happen.] in a whisper to Sasahara. You feel a strong sense of unease, as if you can not trust them. Sasahara: [Are they really that bad?] KP: Well, Tomomi-san's not among the people standing to inherit. She seems genuinely concerned for Yuika-chan. At least, that's how it looks to you. Tatsumi: [Well then, as a compromise, how about if Sasahara-kun attends the unveiling of the will? That won't violate Touzo's wishes.] Miyako: [ Good! What a nice idea!] Sasahara: What? I have to be witness to this? Tatsumi: What are you complaining for now? Sasahara: But I don't think this will turn out well. I've got a bad feeling. (lol) Tatsumi: I'm well aware. Because of that, you've got to attend! Miyako: Oh no, does that mean we have to attend it as well? KP: At the very least, as the one who opened that puzzle box, Sayaka-chan will be expected to attend. Tatsumi: Then I will insist on attending as well. Miyako: I don't like this. KP: It seems you don't know how to appreciate this game (evillol). Miyako: No, it's not that. Even though I said I didn't like it I'm still having fun (lol). Tatsumi: Good. Now with that out of the way, I want to address these creepy people. KP: Very well. Make a (Persuade) check, please. Tatsumi: It so happens that (Persuade) is one of those skills in which I have confidence. (rolls dice) Made my roll. KP: As you begin to (Persuade) them, the clock ticks closer to the appointed time. They're not happy about it, but they appear to have accepted your position. Sasahara: They broke easily. Can I make a (Psychology) check to see what they're thinking about? KP: You may, but I'm rolling it for you. (Hmm, he made the test.) At this moment, they want to get the reading of the will done above all else. That's the impression you get. Sasahara: I wonder why this is so important. What should we do with Yuika, who we brought with us? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Psychology Hello, I am Miyako, and my favorite kind of old furniture is dining tables. The skill Sasahara-kun used, (Psychology), can let the user see through lies, and sense what kind of emotions a target is feeling. Because NPCs in the Cthulhu TRPG have their own agendas and aren't always honest, this skill is very handy. Some other skills that you should put some points in include (Spot Hidden) and (Listen)! Unlike other checks, (Psychology) rolls are mostly made by the Keeper. It is not good for players to know if they succeeded or not - and if they don't make the roll the Keeper is free to feed the group false information. Better be careful! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ KP: Sougo and company do not seem to want to go anywhere in this storm. They will hold the reading of the will in their own home, in a quiet room. Sasahara: Well, I'll ask Tomomi to attend the reading. I'll have Yuika-chan keep me company in my room. KP: Hey, that's no good. Sayaka: You said the worst possible thing. KP: [I need to hire a guard to watch this guy!] says Tomomi as she gives you a good hard kick in the butt. She takes Yuika inside right after that. Sasahara: She's so strict! I bet she's a tsundere (lol). Sayaka: Judging from that, there's no dere. Just tsun. Miyako: Of the three adults who are gathered here, I want to talk to the quietest one. I think that's Masahiro-san. I want to have a quiet chat with him. KP: That's doable. Miyako: [Sougo-san seems so fixated on the will. Is there some kind of hidden reason for that?] KP: Wow, that's really rude! Masahiro answers, [You'll hear nothing from me.] Miyako: I guess it's time for a (Fast Talk) roll . . . but I'm bad at that skill! Sayaka-chan, help me out! Sayaka: Okay, I'll lend a hand. [As the one who opened the puzzle, I'd hate for it to be used in a crime. If you know something, would you please fill us in?] KP: Okay then. Sayaka, roll your (Fast Talk). Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made it. KP: Seeing as how an honest young lady asked him, Masahiro turns his head to the side and whispers. [Just between you and me, I don't think Touzo left much for them in the first will.] Sayaka: [The first will? Are there two of them?] KP: (Masahiro) [As he was the company manager for a large firm, he had an official one drafted up by a lawyer. We got the notification that there was a second will in a letter from Touzo himself!] Sayaka: [That makes it look like Touzo had advance notice he was going to die.] KP: (Masahiro) [Yes, and I thought that was weird too. The letter said if people had complaints about the allocation of his fortune, they had to open a certain puzzle box. I think you are starting to understand why Sougo has certain expectations.] Sayaka: [Thank you very much. That clears up a lot.] KP: (Masahiro) [By the way, you're so young yet you're running an antique store. It's cute. Have you thought about expanding your business?] He says that while palming some bills and looking at you in a meanginful way. Sayaka: [Oh, the store is just a part-time job for me.] is what I say, then I get out of there in a dash and hurry back to Tatsumi-sensei to report what I've learned. Miyako: [Sayaka-chan is tough!] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SFX:  OST:  KP: Okay, you guys are in front of a fireplace inside their living room. Everyone has gathered there, and is paying close attention to Sayaka-chan, who is holding the wooden object. Sayaka: I feel uncomfortable. KP: Sougo is glaring at a wall clock. He's counting down to 0100 (1 AM). Sayaka, when it turns 0100, you are to open the wooden object. Sayaka: It'll be close, but I'll open it on the dot. Sougo: [Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Now, open it! Right now!] Sayaka: I open it. KP: Just then, when you open it, you feel your body become heavy and sluggish. To put it in game terms, you just lost 6 Magic Points. Sayaka: Wait - wait -wait! There's no will inside here! Just some kind of lens. KP: Sayaka, when you look into that thing you see someone's bloodshot eyes staring back at you. Sayaka: [Kyaaaa!] (I might throw it away from me!) Tatsumi: Don't throw it! (lol) KP: (as Emiko) [Hey, what the heck do you think you're doing!?] She picks up the device and looks into it. [ . . . Touzo-sama?] she murmurs. Miyako: What was that? I want to pay careful attention to what happens - from safe distance in the back. Tatsumi: Me too, me too. KP: You don't understand what kind of mechanism could accomplish this. Behind the lens, you see the figure of an elderly man looking back at you. Miyako: Wow, is this a pre-recorded message? KP: As you stare at it, the figure in the lens begins to speak. You can hear what he is saying. (as Touzo) [It looks like you were able to open it after all. You have some skill, don't you? You greedy misers.] Sasahara: This isn't the kind of feeling you get from a will. I think something bad is about to happen. KP: (as Touzo) [In a moment, I will die . . . but I can not leave this world because of my grudge. If you have any regret for Makoto Ichi in your heart, do now what you ought to do. That's the only way to live. It is my will.] Sayaka: Was this recorded on a media player? Is that how they are playing it back on that screen? KP: No, no. As if it was created with technology far beyond our means, the screen isn't just playing back a 2D image. You can see a full 3D panorama there, as if an entire world exists behind it. What's more, you sense that the figure is looking at you. This is no mere recording. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Magic Points Hi, I'm Miyako, and my favorite magic is One derived statistic all Investigators have is Magic Points, and they are equal to POW. If his Magic Points reach zero, an Investigator will lose consciousness. Although Investigators rarely use Magic Points, they are expended during spellcasting. That odd device in our story drained 6 Magic Points! If it had been me, I would have fainted on the spot! Since this thing sucked away 6 Magic Points, I bet it used them to cast some powerful spell. That wooden contraption is dangerous. We need to treat it with care. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: Yikes, that's scary. My eyelids are getting heavy . . . KP: When that happens, the voice speaks again. [There are some faces I don't recognize in this crowd. Are you the comrades of that detestable miser? If not, you need to flee the area - oh well, it's too late now.] Miyako: [Faces he didn't recognize?] Does that mean us? Tatsumi: Is he looking at us? KP: From behind the lens, the old man raises a contraption not unlike the one you brought. Something like a black haze begins to pour forth from it. Touzo seems completely unaware of this. Sayaka: [Touzo-san, get away! Run!] KP: He seems unable to hear you. The black haze engulfs and wraps around him, and he then emits a short scream and collapses. Miyako: Did he just die? KP: He's on the ground. He's not moving. Tatsumi: I wonder if that's where they found him. KP: Within that black haze, you three notice two glowing green eyes floating in it, staring at you. The eyes look back at you. You feel unease and naseau as they regard you, carefully studying the other side. Then the black haze stretches out to cover the entire area you can see. Miyako: Could this be ... a Hound of Tindalos? KP: All right, everyone! SAN rolls all around! Everyone: Nuuuuoooo! (lol) ====== Notes: ====== Everyone made their SAN check, but they lost 1D3 SAN even with a successful test. Tatsumi: I just lost 2 points. I'm down to 67. Sasahara: I lost 2 points as well. 62 left over here. Sayaka: I lost 1 point. I have 68 left. I guess I'm still safe. Miyako: Uuu. I lost two points. I only have 26 points left! I don't think I can pass anymore SAN checks! KP: Now that all those SAN rolls are out of the way, Emiko, who was holding the object, lets out a very loud scream. OST: Tatsumi: [What is it!?] KP: (Emiko) [It hurts! It hurts! My arms! Aaaah! Aaaah!] and her arms begins shaking. Masahiro, who is next to her, asks her what's wrong. His face is pale with fear and he's very confused. Tatsumi: It's time for me to take charge. I've got the (Medicine) skill. [Everyone! Restrain her! I've got to treat her right now!] Miyako: [Got it!] KP: A pale-blue something is on the back of her hands. It looks like a powerful poison is working through her system. As it works its way through her body, it's causing necrosis of the flesh. Tatsumi, you can try either a (First Aid) or a (Medicine) test. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) made the check. KP: Using towels to dab away pus, and cold water to lower her body temperature - these are the things you can do in this situation. It's not enough. This poison was designed to destroy all of her muscles. This poison reminds you of some of the strongest venoms from sea creatures. However, you've never heard of one that produces symptoms as violently as this one does. Miyako: How horrible. Where did this poison come from? Tatsumi: [Help me get her to the kitchen! Sayaka, get me towels! We've got to flush this poison out of her body!] Sasahara: I want to close that box. KP: Nope! It won't let you do that. Sasahara: How inconvenient. In any case, I want to get it off the floor. Tatsumi: Think we can remove the poison just by closing the box? (lol) KP: Hmm. Some time passes and you continue to treat her. Thanks to Tatsumi-sensei's ministrations, she's out of danger for now. With the wronged eyes of an innocent person dragged into a terrible situation, she glares at Sougo. [If niisan is so greedy, make him accept Touzo's wrath!] Sasahara: Here come the sibling quarrels. I'm going to clam up and see if we overhear any interesting information (lol). KP: (crazy like a fox!) Sougo, who is being blamed by her, says this in return. [Give me a break! You needed money for your company's working capital!] Emiko turns red with anger. [I don't want to hear that from you! You were embezzling money from the company!] That statement goes off with the explosive force of a bomb. Sasahara: Wow. Those two have considerable money troubles. KP: Sasahara learns that from listening closely to their conversation. The two realize that other people can hear what they are saying, so they soon quiet down and stop. Sashara: [I didn't hear anything~! (tries to whistle unconvincingly)] Sayaka: We have other worries. What exactly was that lens? Tatsumi: Let's think about this like a Cthulhu TRPG roleplayer. The lens isn't a monitor for video playback. Instead it creates a link between a time in the past and our time in the present. Doesn't that make sense? Miyako: Someone from the past is watching us. Sayaka: So what was with that black haze? Tatsumi: It may have been a Hound of Tindalos. Sayaka: What kind of monster is a Hound of Tindalos? Tatsumi: If one of Them detects a human who is attempting to cross time, It will follow the human wherever and whenever he goes. It will never stop until It finds the human and devours him. They can arrive suddenly from any corner in a room. Even the corner on a window is enough. They're something you never want to meet. Sayaka: I think I heard about that one. If you were in a round room, It would be unable to find you, right? Miyako: It'd be nice if a room like that existed and was close by (lol). Sayaka: So when Touzo-san used the lens to look to the future, the Hound became aware of him? Tatsumi: There's no doubt of that. Unfortunately I think I locked gazes with It. Miyako: Remember that this kind of metafictional awareness is beyond the capacity of our Investigators (lol). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): The Hounds of Tindalos "They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked... "All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment, I cannot be certain." —Frank Belknap Long, "The Hounds of Tindalos" Hello again! I'm Miyako, and my favorite breed of dog is the Irish wolfhound. The Hounds of Tindalos work on peculiar principles, though if you just judged them from the name, you might think They're the kind of animal you'd see a person walking on a leash. Though the name says 'Hound', It isn't an animal you could keep as a pet. Their most noticeable characteristic is Their capacity to manifest and attack from corners - furniture, room corners, anything will work. It seems They come from the angles of time. I don't understand that very well. When one considers that They can materialize and attack from any angle of less than 120 degrees - yes, even the ones on your bed, it seems like They are cheating. They especially seem to want to punish people who move backward in time. If you are trying to travel or look through time, you stand a chance of locking eyes with one of Them. In that case, even if you try to retreat, there's no helping you. The Hound knows of you, and It will hunt and kill you. It will find you, no matter what you do to hide. Once They notice the [purity] of humanity, They can't be satisfied until that [purity] is destroyed. Obviously They can cause a lot of trouble for Investigators! They're one of the rarer creatures in the Cthulhu TRPG. If possible, I never want to meet one of Them. To anyone currently making a journey through time, watch out for the Hounds of Tindalos! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle:
On the Other Side of the Lens
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  Sayaka: I have a question. Amidst all the racket that happened when the will was read, there was a mention of regret for Makoto Ichi-san. Who is that? KP: According to Emiko and the rest of the bunch, he was Touzo's son, and Yuika's father. Sashara: He was the one who died in that accident on the mountain. Oh, that's right. We were told to have Yuika-chan with us. KP: Okay, when you go up to the second floor to find Yuika, she's sleeping soundly in bed as if nothing happened. Tomomi is looking at her with kind eyes. Sasahara: [Has anything strange happened, Tomomi-san?] KP: (as Tomomi) [Nothing out of the usual. But there was something loud downstairs. Did anything happen down there?] Sasahara: [Where can I begin? Something strange has occured. I'm sorry to ask, but please wake up Yuika and bring her downstairs. Everyone else is waiting.] KP: (as Tomomi) [Even though she's sleeping right now?] She says that with a sad look on her face. Sasahara: [It might be dangerous if you stay here. You'll be safer if you're with everyone else.] KP: (as Tomomi) [If you put it that way . . .] She accepts your explanation. She wakes up Yuika and gives her a change of clothes and brings her downstairs. Everybody! Try an (Idea) roll. Sayaka: (rolls dice) I made it. I guess I realize something. KP: Those who made the roll realize you haven't seen Sougo recently. Sayaka: [Hey, where's Sougo-san?] KP: Before you realized it, you feel he must have gone somewhere. [Where did oniisan get to?] asks Emiko. She has a grim look on her face. Tatsumi: [Something may have happened. It's dangerous to go alone.] Sasahara: I do a head count of everyone who is downstairs. KP: When you do that, you notice that one luxurious, heavy-looking door is locked. It might have been locked from the inside. OST:  Sasahara: I'll get Tomomi to open this door. KP: (as Tomomi) [This is the door to the Master's room. The key is probably inside.] Sasahara: So I guess Sougo is inside it? KP: At that moment Emiko rushes in. (as Emiko) [Niisan, what are you doing? Come on out of there! I won't let you go off and do something on your own!] She glares angrily at the door while pounding on it. She doesn't seem bothered by her arm injury now. Sasahara: I bet something really important is in that room. KP: (as Tomomi) [It contains both a bedroom and a study. It's full of important documents.] Sasahara: I wonder if he's hiding the evidence of his embezzling. Is there a gap in the door I can look through? KP: Sorry, but there's no way to look through that heavy door. Maybe you could use the outside window to look in. Sasahara: I'm not going outside alone. Sayaka-chan, come with me. KP: What a pitiable coward. You should go alone. Sasahara: But it's dangerous to go alone! (lol) Sayaka: All right, all right. I'll go with him. Sasahara: Yay! I knew I could count on you. Sayaka: I think I ought to show Tomomi-san just how cowardly you are. (lol) KP: (as Tomomi) [He cried a lot when he was little.] (lol) Sasahara: [Yeah, you teased me too much then.] is what I'll say back. KP: (as Tomomi) [Don't say strange things. You chase around little girls.] Miyako: From the time he was little, he's liked little girls. (lol) Tatsumi: Cut the idle chatter and get to work! Sasahara: All right. Miyako-san has my number on her cell phone. I have her number on mine. If something strange happens, we'll call each other to report it. Tatsumi: This guy is very cautious. KP: Although those two went outside, it's still difficult to look inside the room. The window is high up. Sasahara: Okay, I see how it is. Sayaka-chan, you can stand on me and look into the room. Miyako: There goes Sasahara-kun, being all grim and stern while showing frightening things to other people. (lol) Sasahara: Well excuuuse me, princess. Let's change things. Sayaka-chan, you can lift me up instead. I only have a 17 SIZ. Sayaka: No, the original way was better. Just don't look up my skirt, please. Sasahara: I won't, I won't ... is what I'll say, and afterward I'll look. (lol) Sayaka: I'll step on his peeping face. Sasahara: Ow! Sayaka: Anyway, I want to look in the window. KP: Make a (Luck) roll, please. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made it. KP: Okay. You are blessed with good luck. (That was a roll to see if she could see the horrifying work the monster did while killing Sougo. She passed, so she didn't see that.) You look inside the room. You see that Sougo has fallen against the bed. Sayaka: How is he? KP: From what you can see from this angle, you don't see any surface wounds. You do see documents that have been scattered around. Sayaka: [Ah, this is terrible!] Sasahara: [What is it, Sayaka-chan!?] Sayaka: Sasahara-kun is battered by footsteps from above. [Quick, call Miyako! I can see Sougo and it looks like he has collapsed inside!] Sayaka: I'll call Miyako-san. Miyako: I report the situation to Tatsumi-sensei. Tatsumi: [We'll have to break the door down.] Can we do that? KP: You guys don't have the key. Up to two people can work on the door at the same time. Tatsumi: We will tackle the door together. KP: Master and pupil tackle the door together. The door bursts open. Both of you can attempt a (Spot Hidden) roll for me. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) I failed. Miyako: (rolls dice) It's all right, I got this. KP: Tatsumi did not pass. I rule that he was distracted by seeing Sayaka-chan's face peering down in the window. Tatsumi: [Aah! It's a ghost! Wait, that's Sayaka-chan!] (lol) Sayaka: [It feels like someone in there is insulting me!] (lol) KP: All right guys, can the jokes for a while. Miyako, you sensed something in one of the corners of the room. When you look at it, you see some of the adumbral haze you saw in the lens earlier. You look into it more deeply ... and see the green, glowing eyes which burn with hunger, as they stare into yours. Miyako, make a (SAN) roll right now. Miyako: Why only me!? KP: The game being played here is "cosmic horror". Realizing truths about the universe is bad for you. Miyako: (rolls dice) . . . I didn't make the check. KP: Then you lose 1D6 SAN. Miyako: If I lose another four points, I'll fall into indefinite insanity. Sasahara: Already!? Miyako: I only have 26 Sanity points left. C'mon, roll low. Roll low! (rolls dice) I only lost 2 points. (Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and applauds.) Miyako: I have 24 points left. KP: You're down to that few? That's a number that will make any Keeper nervous. Miyako: I've had a lot of back to back events where I had to roll SAN! (lol) KP: It pains me to say this, but a few more and . . . Miyako: What about the black haze? KP: Soon all the traces of it fade away. Tatsumi: I didn't see any of the black haze, so I'm going to check Sougo's breathing. Is he alive? KP: Nope, he's dead. But judging from his body temperature you think he was killed very recently. Tatsumi: I want to investigate his body further with a (Medicine) roll. Made it. KP: There are no surface wounds on the corpse. It looks like it was a case of sudden death. You can try a (Spot Hidden) roll. Tatsumi: This time I made the roll. KP: After examining him further, you find a small hole in the back of Sougo's head. It's so small you couldn't fit your little finger in it. It's precise - it doesn't look like a lot of pressure was used to make it. One odd thing about it is that blood isn't dripping out of it. Sayaka: What kind of injury is this? Tatsumi: Again, our Investigators won't know this, but speaking as a Cthulhu TRPG player I've seen this before. This is the work of a Hound of Tindalos. It used Its tongue to attack this man. Miyako: So that black shadow really was a Hound of Tindalos . . . Sasahara: Is that awful thing in the mansion with us? Tatsumi: If It locks eyes with you, it'll chase you until you die. Somehow or other, it'll find you. KP: You find out some other things. Sougo seems to have died before Emiko was poisoned. You hear her in the other room. She keeps saying [This is Touzo's curse! It's his curse on us!] Judging from her voice, her sanity is starting to crumble. Tatsumi: What a horrible night to have a curse. I'll try a (Psychoanalysis) roll. Maybe I can calm her down. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: You manage to calm her down. She collapses into slumber. She's been terrified by what's happened, and the wound on her arm hasn't helped. Tatsumi: It has been an upsetting evening. I drag her over to a sofa. She can catch some zzzs there. Sayaka: We have to contact the police and tell them what happened to Sougo. Sasahara: Hold off on that. We need to search Touzo-san's room first. (lol) Miyako: Once the cops get here, they won't let us investigate the place ourselves. (lol) KP: Okay, you look inside. You find a large bookshelf, an antique desk, a bed, and similar trappings. It looks like a good room to rest in. Everything is Western-style. There are many documents concerning his company and the economy. There are also some occult texts, which will please Sasahara. Miyako: I want to look through the books Sougo-san recently read. KP: It seems that Sougo-san was mostly looking through documents related to stocks and securities. Miyako: He was looking through things concerning monetary value when he was attacked. Sasahara: [Tomomi-san, did Touzo-san have an interest in the occult for a long time?] KP: (as Tomomi) [About a year ago his health took a turn for the worse. His interest in the occult began then as his interests and personality changed.] OST:  Sasahara: [He got weirder and weirder.] KP: (as Tomomi) [Don't say it like that. Anyway, he was mostly doing the work while being cooped up in this room. I didn't think it was that strange.] Sasahara: [How was his illness back then?] KP: (as Tomomi) [According to the doctor, it wasn't strange that he would die.] Sasahara: [What did he mean?] KP: (as Tomomi) [He wouldn't go to the hospital and he never told anyone else that he was sick. He insisted on being treated here, at the mansion.] Miyako: [And then two weeks ago he died. I'm sorry if remembering this is hard, but would you tell us what shape he was in towards the end?] KP: (as Tomomi) [I was the one who found him. One morning I came in here and found him collapsed on top of his books. His body was extremely cold.] Miyako: Keeper, is that where we saw Touzo-san in the scene before he was attacked by the Hound of Tindalos? KP: Seems that way. Sayaka: Wait - would that mean Touzo-san didn't die of natural causes? Instead, he was killed by the Hound of Tindalos? KP: You've heard how he was receiving medical care. Maybe you accepted the hospital's explanation for what happened him. Miyako: How much did Touzo-san really know about what the wooden puzzle? Sasahara: I bet he knew a lot. I want to thoroughly research his occult library as such. KP: That'll take some time. And you need to make a (Listen) check first. Sayaka: Sasahara-kun and I made our rolls. KP: Very well. You hear the sound of a car engine starting in the garage. Tatsumi: Who the heck is that? It couldn't be . . . Masahiro! KP: Now that you mention it, earlier you saw him near Emiko, getting blubbery and upset. Now you realize you don't see him anywhere. Tatsumi: Now is not the time to panic and run off! Do you want to die? Sasahara: That's a bit much, Tatsumi-sensei. You're acting like you're really in a horror movie. (lol) OST:  KP: Oh yes, that Tatsumi-sensei. He's someone to worry about, except you're more worried about the noise of the powerful earthquake that shakes the house. Tatsumi: Wait, what? KP: Right after that, you hear a loud crash. Then it's followed by a sustained press of the car horn. BeeEEEeeeEEEeeep. Tatsumi: An accident? Sayaka: I rush out of Touzo's room. I'll run outside and check out the situation there. Tatsumi: [Wait up! You should bring a doctor!] I say as I follow her. Miyako: If the sensei goes outside, I go outside to bring an umbrella as his attendant. Sasahara: I'm worried about Emiko-san and Yuika-chan. I want to stay behind with them. Tatsumi: This clownin' knuckle dragger . . . carefully got away. I'm concerned about Yuika-chan too. All right, I leave them to you. Sasahara: Of course! Leave them to me! (lol) KP: Depending on the blare of the klaxon to find your way through the strong winds and the rain which even now pours down on you in sheets. It's pitch black outside, and as you walk along the mountain trail you find the car, a beautiful Mercedes Benz that has been in a crash. Tatsumi: Not good. Is Masahiro all right? KP: The car looks like it travelled about thirty meters on the road. The front has been torn into. That must have been what caused the car to crash off the road. While looking down at the car from higher up on the road, you make a strange discovery. Miyako: Not again! I don't want to see it! Sayaka: Hold up! I'm only looking at the state of the car! (lol) KP: (ignoring their protests, continuing his description) Something large and white just moved across the ground in your field of vision. You hear some strange noises from the car's hood, and then you see something like mucous sticking to it. While you look at it, you think something is trying to drag the car into a hole in the ground. It's some kind of monster. Everyone, roll SAN! Tatsumi: It's okay. (rolls dice) Made it. Sayaka: (rolls dice) I passed the check too. Miyako: Uuuh, don't look over here. (rolls dice) . . . I failed! KP: Those who made the check lose 1 SAN. Those who didn't will lose 1D6 Sanity points. Sayaka: That's a lot of Sanity points. KP: The large and white thing just wriggled like an earthworm, and the car moved with it. When that happened, there was a slight tremor as well. Hence the fear. Sayaka: What on earth is this phenomenon!? Miyako: It's useless! It's all useless! I'm teetering on the brink of lunacy! (rolls a D6) Oh! Oh! I only lost one point! I'm down to 23 Sanity points. KP: Hoehhh, this is intense. (lol) Sayaka: After deducting that one point, I'm down to 67 SAN. Tatsumi: I've got 66. I feel our SAN is getting five and dimed. KP: Now's not the time to cower behind your mother's skirt. In the driver's seat, his face impacted by the airbag, is Masahiro. To pry him out, you'll need to break safety glass and pull. The glass has about 8 "hit points". OST:  Sayaka: Let me break the window. I have karate as a personal specialty. Miyako: While Sayaka-chan could probably do it all herself, I want to help out. With this frying pan. KP: You brought that with you this whole time!? (lol) Miyako: I'm always ready for danger because I bring my equipment with me. Tatsumi: I'll leave breaking the glass to the ladies. I think it'll be my job to get him out of the car. I don't have much confidence in myself, though. KP: Okay, if you guys mess this up the car will become further wedged in the mud. Getting him out will be even harder if that happens. Sayaka: Sayaka, mairimasu. Karate kick! The damage for this is 1D6 + 1D6 + 1D4. (rolls dice) I did 8 points! KP: That's enough to fracture the glass and send bits flying in the air. Tatsumi: This high school girl, with just one hit! Miyako: I wanted to help out with my frying pan. (lol) Sayaka: Did you see the results of my ascetic training!? (lol) KP: I wonder what kind of training it was. Miyako: I "holster" my frying pan and return to assisting Tatsumi-sensei. KP: In any case, I am glad you two are so reliable. I probably won't require Sayaka to roll dice the next time she wants to break things. Sayaka: Yaaay! KP: You pull him out of the car. When you do, he says this to Miyako: [ Avoid the ground! A big mouth opened in it! It's going to eat the car!] Miyako: [Calm down. Get a hold of yourself!] is what I say while I think about hitting him with the frying pan to make up for my missed chance to use it earlier. (lol) Sayaka: Can I quiet him with a kick? KP: While he'd quiet down, he might not live if you do that. Better not. Tatsumi: I calm him down with a (Psychoanalysis) roll. I also tell him that we need to get out of here. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: As the rain continues to fall, you leave the scene of the accident. You hear the car lose its balance and fall into the hole in the earth. Or was it swallowed? The sound of your footsteps and the destruction of the car mingle together. Tatsumi: What could be beneath us? Sayaka: We've got to hurry. Otherwise we're going to get eaten! Miyako: Right. Back to the mansion! KP: Back at the mansion, one can hear a 'kshing' noise of metal on metal near the rear entrance What could be making that noise? (lol) Sayaka: I don't know! I don't want to know! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Two Grimoires -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  ====== Notes: ====== After they returned to the mansion, Tatsumi-sensei gave Masahiro first aid and bandaged him up. Emiko's injury was not yet healed, but upon seeing what happened to Sougo, she became frightened and fled the mansion. She never had a chance to hear Sougo's terrifying testimony . . . Tatsumi: This guy's kind of incompetent. We saved him when he was about to be killed. I doubt that he's trying to pull a scheme. Miyako: It looks like Touzo-san was fully ready to ice these people. Tatsumi: Setting aside the Hound of Tindalos, what was that gigantic, white thing we saw? What about the earthquake? KP: You get the feeling that the earthquake is like that gigantic, white thing's footsteps. Tatsumi: Sentence. I don't think we'll be going outside the mansion anytime soon. Sayaka: With all of that in mind, don't you think it's time we called the police and an ambulance? Tatsumi: Good point. We'll try to call 119. Translator's note: America uses 911 for its emergency number, and Japan uses 119. KP: You guys are as noisy as a fire brigade. Nevertheless, you are able to reach a local emergency response unit. They inform you that the storm and the recent earthquake have destroyed the mountain path leading to the mansion where you are. Once the storm settles down, they'll be able to send a rescue helicopter your way. For now, you're going to have to wait. Sayaka: Nuooooooo! Do not want! ( ;_; ) KP: Of course, if they arrived I might just have that gigantic worm-thing that's lurking underground surface and kill all of them. Then I'd have you all roll against Sanity for getting a good look at it. Sayaka: Whoa! Our Keeper has a terrifying way of making threats. (lol) Miyako: We understand. We understand. We'll deal with the situation ourselves. KP: Thaaaat's right! (evilol) Miyako: Although it's been that way ever since we got to this mansion (lol). OST: Sasahara: Say, Tatsumi-sensei. Touzo-san's study has lots of occult books. I say it's time we read some of them. Tatsumi: Ah, that's right. We might be able to understand Touzo's objective. I will assist you. Miyako: I'll help them out too. Tatsumi: Before we get to that, I warn the NPCs in the mansion. [Don't try anything on your own.] Sasahara: [Tomomi-san, don't put yourself in a situation where you're alone. It's dangerous!] KP: (as Tomomi) [What if I suddenly need something?] Sasahara: [Well, I am a man (barely)!] Miyako: What are you saying now? (lol) KP: All right, if you want to look through Touzo's collection of books, you can make a (Library Use) or (Occult) roll. Sasahara: Might as well use my best skill. Here goes my (Occult) (rolls dice) ... made it. Tatsumi: I'll try with my (Library Use). (rolls dice) Got it. KP: He's got a good collection of volumes, some of which could command good prices. Among them, two books catch your eyes. Sasahara: And what books are those? KP: Something called G'harne Fragments and another book called the Eltdown Shards. Both are written in English. Sasahara, who made his Occult roll, remembers hearing something about those Fragments. They were apparently stolen from a city named G'harne and are a sort of record of the city. Eltdown Shards was written in England. It discusses mysterious clay tablets that were found in the south, and analyzes the mysterious writing found on them. Neither one is very common. Sasahara: I'm not sure what relevance these have to our current dilemma. Is there something in them that looks like it could be useful? Tatsumi: We won't know that until we read them. KP: Skimming them will take some time - at least a few hours. You'll also have to make an Other Language (English) roll. Tatsumi: I really want to read them at length, but for now I'll just skim them. Sayaka: Now that everyone else is reading these books, I'll prepare a study station for them with desks and things to take notes on. Miyako: I'll help her out with that. KP: Okay, the two of you should attempt a (Spot Hidden) test. Sayaka: Made it. KP: Among the many items which have scattered across the surface of the desk, you find a moon calendar. The time for a new moon is circled. Sayaka: A new moon? What moon is it tonight? KP: You won't be able to know until the rain clears. Sayaka: What if I tried to look it up with my cell phone? KP: If there's a site that has that information . . . well, why not? You find one. Tonight's the full moon. Sayaka: What's the meaning of this? Miyako: It means that Touzo scheduled the opening of that box puzzle. It means he knew it would be opened on the night of the full moon. KP: By the way, the new moon often happens on the 30th of a given month. Tatsumi: So Touzo-san knew that on the day of the full moon, he was going to die. It's almost a certainty that he intentionally summoned the Hound of Tindalos and died in the process. Miyako: It seemed he had accepted his fate in his will. Sasahara: But wasn't he insane by that point? KP: I have nothing else to add to that. Miyako: He knew he'd die summoning the Hound of Tindalos, but he also used It to attack Sougo and the rest? Tatsumi: He was crazy, but I think he was still afraid of dying. Sasahara: Why bring Yuika-chan into this? Miyako: He probably thought Yuika-chan would be over at Rinkan school during this time. He didn't think she'd be here while this was going on. Sayaka: But that leaves Sougo-san and his relatives on the chopping block. You heard how Sougo-san was misappropriating company funds. Touzo-san must have hated him. Sasahara: This must have some connection to Makoto Ichi-san's death. I wonder if he really died in an accident. Miyako: Now I want to hear what Emiko-san has to say about all of this. Tatsumi: We've only heard a little from her. Let's make her explain this stuff in detail. Sayaka: While you are busy with this, we can continue to investigate this room. Sasahara: Yes! I bet his diary is here somewhere! His diary! KP: Hold on just a second. I need to roll for something. (rolls dice once, then twice) Hmm. That's interesting. Sayaka: The Keeper's doing something suspicious! KP: No, not at all (lol). Miyako: I'm concerned. Tatsumi: So am I. =============== Keeper's Notes: =============== What I just rolled for was a test to determine the behavior of the Hound of Tindalos, which is still lurking at the mansion. I was determining who It would hunt as prey with some random dice rolls. In the context of this scenario, The Hound of Tindalos prefers to attack people when they are alone, and It likes to target those with high POW. Up till now the group has stayed together, so It hasn't felt like attacking. Unfortunately, as time continues to pass, It will eventually decide to attack people even if they remain in a large group. Sayaka: Can I search for his journal, assuming he kept one, with a (Spot Hidden) roll? KP: Nope, for this you'll need to roll against your (Library Use). As this area isn't as large as a real library, the amount of time needed to pass before you can roll your skill will be reduced. Instead of waiting for four hours of game time and then rolling, you can try after one hour. Tatsumi: If it's going to take that long, I'll take my leave. I want to check on Emiko-san's condition. I feel uncomfortable having left my patient alone for this long. Miyako: If Tatsumi-sensei is going, I'm going with him. KP: Okay then. So, it's just you and Sasahara who will roll? Sasahara: That's right. I have a decent skill in (Library Use), a lovely 75 percentiles. If we both roll, we'll surely succeed. (rolls dice) . . . I failed! Sayaka: (rolls dice) I didn't pass the test either! KP: (evillol) If there is a diary or journal, you sure don't find it. Sayaka: Oh, that's a disappointment. KP: I'm going to cut over to Tatsumi-sensei, who is in the living room. Mashahiro-san and Emiko-san are resting on the sofa. At the moment Tatsumi-sensei is checking Emiko-san to make sure she is in stable condition. Tomomi-san has brought out a mattress for Yuika-chan to use on the carpet, where she is currently resting. Miyako: I place a comforter over Yuika-chan so she'll stay warm. Tatsumi: I'l ask in a soft voice so as not to wake Yuika-chan. [Listen up. Everything that's happened up till now has been as Touzo-san wanted and planned. Emiko-san, can you think of anything you did that would make Touzo-san bear a grudge against you?] KP: You're asking her straight out. Tatsumi: And I'm going to watch how she responds. I'm using my (Psychology) skill to see if she tries to omit information or dissemble. KP: That sounds reasonable. (rolls dice, checking against Tatsumi's skill, and the skill test is passed) Bitter, sour expressions flash across their faces. You can tell they have some things in their past that Touzo-san must have hated. Tatsumi: Ah so. I'll press the issue further. [Touzo-san was specific. He wanted Yuika-chan left out of tonight's events. If you hadn't brought her here this evening, his curse would only have affected you. That's why he prepared that puzzle.] KP: Okay, so what's your point? Tatsumi: [It follows that if you bore no ill will towards Touzo-san, you wouldn't have brought her here.] KP: You talk to them for a while. You can try a (Persuade) roll now. Tatsumi: You can leave that to me. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: Okay. You speak to them for a while, and after you gently make your points, Emiko-san's mouth trembles and she begins her excuse. [ Touzo-san suspects that we had something to do with Makoto Ichi's accident.] Miyako: Here comes the important witness testimony. Tatsumi: What kind of accident was it? OST: KP: It happened three years ago. Makoto and his wife, Emiko and her husband, and Sougo. All five of them went to Yarigadake, a mountain in Nagano. It seems that Makoto and his wife fell into the bottom of a ravine. Miyako: Were Emiko-san and the rest there when it happened? Tatsumi: That was unexpected. KP: It seems that three of them climbed mountains for a hobby, so a three-person team was formed. They tried it for real, in full getup. Tatsumi: I see. KP: But then, at that moment they fell, Sougo didn't immediately go to rescue them himself. He tried to call for a rescue. Help did not arrive in time. They died. Tatsumi: Th-That doesn't make any sense. No one was at fault. Death by misadventure. KP: So it seems. The police judged that Sougo acted correctly. Their deaths were ruled an accident. Touzo-san, on the other hand, did not accept that. Tatsumi: But was it really an accident? I'll ask Emiko-san that. KP: (as Emiko) [I can't say the thought of what would happen if Makoto Ichi had an accident never crossed niisan's mind. But he did the right thing by calling for help instead of making a rescue attempt himself.] Tatsumi: (Psychology) roll kicking in. KP: Yup. (rolls dice, gets a passing result) She believes what she just told you is true. Tatsumi: And then Touzo-san nursed a grudge behind the scenes. He lost his only son. I think it's understandable. After that he studied how to summon a monster that would slaughter everyone in the mansion. Sasahara: He probably timed this so it would happen while Yuika-chan was away at school. Tatsumi: Touzo-san was cooking this up for a while. Miyako: Now that we understand this I want to know the whole truth behind it all. I wish we had found that diary. KP: Around that time Sayaka, who had been looking for the diary, comes back to your group. Sasahara: [Tomomi-san, did Touzo-san have a habit of keeping a journal?] KP: (as Tomomi) [Now that you mention it, I think he did.] Sasahara: Yes, it's here after all! Miyako: Why don't Tatsumi-sensei and I look for the book with (Library Use)? Tatsumi: That sounds fine. As for the rest of you, why don't you talk some more with Emiko-san and see if you can learn more? [LATER] Sayaka: What were we supposed to ask them? Sasahara: We could ask them what kind of occult artifacts Touzo-san brought together. KP: According to what Tomomi-san says, he spent a lot of money putting together his collection. She saw occult books and evil-looking objects in it. He threw himself into the studies so deeply that Tomomi-san was concerned for his health. Sayaka: Touzo-san, did you leave any suspicious messages behind? We'd like to know how to defeat monsters that can appear and attack from angles please. (lol) KP: Just so you know, Touzo-san may not have been as crazy as you think. He was desperate because he knew the exact time he was going to die. Sasahara: I say thee nay! He was going to summon a hellbeast to kill most of his family. These aren't the actions of a sane individual. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Tatsumi-Sensei, The Hunted -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: Okay Tatsumi, you can try out your (Library Use) skill. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) I failed. Miyako: What!? No . . . this cannot be! I'll try. (rolls dice) I failed too! There's no diary here! Tatsumi: All four Investigators failed. Th-that doesn't make any sense! KP: Speaking of rolls, I've got one to make. (rolls dice) (Ah, I was rolling to see if the Tindalos would attack them. It looks like It will!) (evillol) OST:  Miyako: Uh-oh! Our Keeper is laughing while checking the rulebook. Tatsumi: Is some kind of in-game Event is about to begin? KP: While the two of you are sorting through books and not finding anything, you become aware of something. From the back of the room spreads a horrible stink - like rotting meat. You also sense a powerful will, full of malice and hatred. Tatsumi: It's here! KP: Looking behind you, you see a black haze pouring forth from one of the corners of the room. The first thing you see within the depths of that is two glowing green eyes staring at you. Within them, you see a powerful hunger and unimaginable hatred. Miyako: Oh no! It'll be awful if that thing shows up! (sweatdrop) KP: Before long, that area with the haze is covered with mucous. A shape seems to form within the haze. It's vaguely dog-like, and its blasphemously glowing green eyes are burning with unholy hunger as they regard you. A long, horrible-looking tongue extends from its mouth, dripping with drool. You don't have a flute to lead this thing away! Now, make SAN rolls! This is the real thing! (evillol) Miyako: If we botch this, we'll lose a ton of Sanity! (rolls dice) Phew, made it. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) . . . I failed! KP: Now was not a good time to drop the ball. Those who made their rolls will lose 1D3 SAN. Those with failing rolls lose 1D20 SAN. Sayaka: 1D20!? Daaaang. I don't care what universe you're from, that's got to hurt. Tatsumi: I'm not happy with it either. This Thing has a small SIZ yet the charge so much for seeing One. Miyako: (rolls dice) I just lost another 2 Sanity points. I have 21 points remaining. Ah, it's useless! . . . It's all useless! Tatsumi: This is one of my worst rolls as a gamer. (rolls dice) 6 points!? I have 60 Sanity points left. Sayaka: Our Sanity is decreasing! Tatsumi: (grumbling) Maybe four points would have been okay ... KP: It seems that one of my Investigators is experiencing True Forced Horror of the cosmic variety. Roll (Idea) for us. Let's see how your mind integrates cosmic truth into that pitiful illusion we call 'Sanity'. Tatsumi: My INT is pretty high, which gives me an (Idea) of 85%. (rolls dice) I made it. KP: Tatsumi, you just fell into temporary insanity. It'll last for one hour. This is the first time you've lost your marbles due to the Cthulhu Mythos. That means you get 5 Cthulhu Mythos percentiles to add to your sheet. Mark 'em down. Tatsumi: I gained something from the experience. KP: I now need to decide what form your derangment is going to take. (flips through rulebook) I'll roll on a random table. (rolls dice) Ah, there we go. Tatsumi: What'd you get? KP: You feel like a frog that has matched gazes with a snake. You stumble and lose your footing. Tatsumi: [You've got to be kidding me . . . this is . . .just impossible . . . Something like this can't exist!] I say as I collapse. KP: Well, this nasty monster knows no mercy, so expect none. It sees you falter and It decides to attack. You're now in combat, so we'll go by phases based on DEX. Miyako: I have a DEX of 14. KP: You will go before the beast does. Miyako: I'll grab Tatsumi-sensei and haul our butts out of there! KP: If you're going to pull Tatsumi-sensei, you'll need to match your STR against his SIZ. (Rolls like this, where Attribute is pitted against Attribute, are resolved on the Resistance Table.) Tatsumi: I'm small and compact. I think it will be easy to carry me around. Miyako: I have a 65% chance of doing this. (rolls dice) But I failed! KP: Well. Tatsumi will be attacked by the Hound of Tindalos. It tries to use Its tongue attack. Since you can't take any actions, It has a 90% chance of hitting you. (rolls dice) And it did! Sayaka: A 90% chance!? Tatsumi: Ah, this Thing is dangerous! KP: The searching, abominable red tongue of the Hound reaches to you, and pierces into your medulla oblongata. Miyako: Aaaaah! KP: The tongue burrows deep into your spirit itself, sensing the brilliance of your soul. This creature has nothing like a soul, so it begins to suck out yours, devouring the [purity] of it. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. You will lose 1D3 POW! (rolls dice) You just lost 3 POW! Mark 'em off! Tatsumi: My POW! I had 14, and now it's only 11! Miyako: [I've failed him! The professor has been defiled!] (lol) KP: By the way, the Hound is still thirsty! Swallow your soul, swallow your soul! Sayaka: I bet they've probably screamed. Might I have heard them? KP: Sure, that makes sense. (to Sasahara and Sayaka) You both hear a terrible noise and rush to help your comrades. Sasahara: I don't want to go~! Sayaka: Come on, we have to help sensei! Sasahara: Okay. KP: When you burst into the room, you see what I described before - an unimaginable monster sucking out the [purity], the very soul of Tatsumi-sensei. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Investigators and Insanity Hello! I am Miyako, and my favorite actor is Liam Neeson. Well, you've seen our Sanity points decrease several times before now. I need to explain what's going to happen as a result of that. You also should understand my reason for being concerned. Even if they don't hit zero, if an Investigator loses a great deal of SAN in one shot, he or she can be go mad from terror. As an example, if you lose an amount equal to or greater than five Sanity points in one shot or lose more than 20% of your SAN in one hour, you're in for bad times. In the scene you just saw, Tatsumi-sensei not only lost five points of SAN, he also made an (Idea) roll right afterward. His mind comprehended the alien horror of the situation, but couldn't integrate it. He went temporarily insane. Investigators who are temporarily insane are out of play for a while - and possibly a long while. You can kind of get the idea from watching characters in horror movies get overwhelmed by what they're seeing, or suffer a breakdown etc. It's even worse for Investigators who lose 20% of their SAN. Their insanity lasts much longer and thus they are out of play for significantly longer - maybe entire months. Even if the insanity they get still allows for conscious action, if it's, say, a phobia, they may not be able to conquer the fear generated by the trauma. Good roleplayers can incorporate this game mechanic into their characters and skillfully use it to show Lovecraftian horror. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sasahara: [Aaah, the professor's being defiled ](lol). KP: All right, now the two of you need to make your sanity rolls. Sasahara: (rolls dice) Made my roll . . . (rolls a die) and I only lost 1 point of Sanity. I'm down to 61. Sayaka: Bless me, luck goddess. (rolls dice) Made my roll . . . (rolls a die) I only lost 1 point of Sanity. Down to 66 over here. Miyako: It must be nice sitting on a big stock of Sanity points . . . Sayaka: Can we all work together to pull Tatsumi-sensei out of the room? KP: I think so. Two people could each grab an arm and drag him out. So two people can team up for this test. Sasahara: Miyako-chan and I will carry him out. With our combined STR scores we're sure to succeed. KP: But while you do that, the Hound has one more chance to suck away Tatsumi's spirit. Tatsumi: Hrrrrrrrnnggggh! OST:  Sayaka: I'm not going to let that happen. It's a good day to do what has to be done by me. Keeper, I'm trying to attract the attention of the Hound and make it attack me instead. I'll evade Its next attack with a Dodge. Miyako: She's brave. Sayaka: [Hey! Hey! Come over heeeeere!] KP: As you present a very tempting target by making a lot of noise, the Hound disengages from Tatsumi-sensei and withdraws Its tongue from him. Like a ravenous hound that sees a tempting rabbit, it focuses its attention on you. It's about to attack you and take away your [purity], (evillol). Sayaka: That way of phrasing sounds bad. KP: While that's going on, you two can make a roll to escape with Tatsumi-sensei. Miyako: [Sensei, while we have this chance, come with us!] (rolls dice) We made the roll and escape from there. KP: (checks roll) Yes, that's fine. You three are outside of the area. Miyako: [Sayaka-chan, you've got to flee! This thing is too dangerous!] Sayaka: I want to run outside with everyone and then close the door! KP: No, first you've got to dodge this! Sayaka: Hiiiigggghh! KP: (rolls dice) The monster is attacking with Its tongue . . . and it scores a direct hit! Sayaka: I'll dodge that. I have a (Dodge) skill of 50%! (rolls dice) Got it! I dodged out of the way! Everyone: Bravo! (applauds) Sayaka: And I rush out of the room and shut the door. Sashara: That Thing's going to come after us (gulp). Miyako: I'm looking around me to see if that beast is trying to sneak up on us. KP: Well for now, there is no sign of any activity in the room. Miyako: Did It give up and go away? Tatsumi: We don't know that. We can't understand how It thinks. We can't. KP: Tatsumi, you have had a few moments to rest. You've recovered somewhat and can move on your own again. Tatsumi: I just went through something horrible! My most charming feature was partially sucked out of me! Miyako: I bet it hurt to have some POW drained away. Sayaka: Will he ever recover completely? Tatsumi: Sure, it'll all heal back in time . . . is what I want to say, but reality is not that nice. It's gone forever. It won't ever heal. Sayaka: (tearing up) How horrible! I'm so sorry! Miyako: [That was the true form hidden in the black haze. Touzo-san used it to kill Sougo-san.] Tatsumi: [And it would have killed me back there as well.] Sasahara: [That was some kind of devil that Touzo-san whistled up] is what I'll say, using the occult as an explanation. Tatsumi: We can't think this monster is soft enough to wander around aimlessly. It's not simple enough for us to make that kind of assumption and get careless. Sayaka: Why don't we just leave? Let's get out of the mansion and run away. Miyako: We have an unidentified monster waiting for us outside. KP: Yes, that would be the creature that can make the earth itself shake and tremble. In fact, that thing is scarier for you than a certain monster with a horrid tongue. Sayaka: Oh, is that it? Tatsumi: What is it? Perhaps a Chthonian? Sasahara: Maybe one of those things that yell 'tekelili'? Those are huge. Miyako: I bet that it's mysterious identity is a clue for us to go outside. KP: (ambiguous smile) Tatsumi: If that's the case, we have to be extra careful. Touzo-san, just how far are you willing to go to kill me? Sasahara: Didn't the will mention some kind of escape clause we could use? KP: You are talking about the [if you have any regret in your heart for Makoto Ichi, do now what you ought to do] part. Miyako: What we ought to do, huh. I wonder what that is. Sayaka: Did he have a butsudan here in the mansion? KP: According to Tomomi-san, his father and other relatives didn't want to accept his death. There isn't one in the mansion. Sayaka: I was hoping we could go to it, light some incense, pay our respects, and wrap up everything that way. Sasahara: With that simple idea (lol)? Tatsumi: To say the least, Touzo-san's plans seemed to include multiple cases of murder one. Look at what happened to Sougo in the study. Miyako: I wonder if there was something that was done to trigger the attacks of the monsters. Sayaka: Maybe it's being inside Touzo-san's room? Tatsumi: Interesting idea. It's true that the Hound has, so far, only attacked people who were in Touzo-san's room. Perhaps Sougo provoked the creatures by being in that room. KP: (That wasn't just a coincidence.) =============== Keeper's Notes: =============== After that the Investigators had to do some pondering. They were still affected by the dramatic impact of the Hound of Tindalos' attack, and for a while were afraid to go anywhere for fear of provoking another attack from It. Now that it's come to that, I think I need to change the situation a bit. Interference has been piling up and it's time for a drastic distraction reduction. As a Keeper, I need to throw in some positive reinforcement. And this is still a horror game, so I need to plan some terrifying things for the monsters to do to keep up the pressure. Well, I think I'll throw out a hint or two and look upon their arguments with a cold, dispassionate gaze. KP: Looks like they're still locked in a magnificent internal discussion. Sasahara: I still think we're going to be in trouble unless we read Touzo's diary. Let's ask Tomomi-san for some help and search for it together. Sayaka: No way, buster! That place is too dangerous for us! Tatsumi: Even if we had the diary, I doubt our troubles would conveniently stop. My character failed a (Library Use) roll to find it, so he thinks it's not there. KP: I'll say this: this is the Cthulhu TRPG, but I didn't set out to make a entirely hopeless scenario. OST:  Miyako: You were rolling so well before. It's odd that you weren't able to find it. Sasahara: There are other people we could ask for help with this. Tatsumi: We happen to have several ghastly books we could read: The G'harne Fragments and the Eltdown Shards. Why don't we read them? Miyako: Those will take a lot of time to study, and we're not alone here. What if the Hound of Tindalos decides to attack us again? Tatsumi: This one has a specific trigger for Its attack: going into Touzo-san's room. If we don't do that, we should be okay. Probably. Miyako: Can you summon a Hound and then give It that kind of restriction? Tatsumi: I don't know. I don't think They are very obedient or willing to listen to commands or requests. Sasahara: I want Tomomi-san to tell us the layout of the mansion in detail. KP: (jotting out a sketch on paper) On the first floor is the entrance, genkan, lobby, living room, parlor, kitchen, and Touzo's room. Here's the second floor layout: Yuika's room, the room for Makoto Ichi and his wife, the room for the toilet, a room with an ofuro bath, and some closets for storage. Sayaka: Wait, Makoto Ichi's room . . . is there? KP: (as Tomomi) [Yes, that's correct. The Master told me to leave that room exactly as it was before. I only went in there to clean it. ] Sasahara: It was right here the whole time! Sayaka: Yes, I'm feeling it too. We must investigate this immediately. KP: Who's going? Raise your hand and be counted. Tatsumi: You're basing your roll for a Tindalos encounter based on the number of humans present. KP: Don't try to read meaning into my dice rolls (lol). Miyako: I think Tatsumi-sensei is right. Remember what happened to Sougo-san? He went off by himself and was attacked and killed. Sayaka: Then we all go. KP: (as Tomomi) [The Master wouldn't approve. I was told never to enter that room except as part of my duties.] She seems extremely reluctant. As far as Emiko and the others, the room would only serve to remind them of Makoto Ichi. Sayaka: But can we turn away from that? It's our best clue. Miyako: We need to get her on board with this idea. We could show her that room where Tatsumi-sensei was attacked. Sasahara: Is that enough to convince her? Tatsumi: I now have the same wound that Sougo does. Maybe that's enough to prove it (lol). Sayaka: No use hesitating. [Everyone! Get to Makoto Ichi's room now! I have something important to tell you!] KP: Very well. Everyone heard you and is converging at that spot. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Detective Lets her Foot Do the Talking -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note: At some point Emiko returned to the mansion. OST:  Sayaka: [Now that we're all here, I have something I can tell you. But only you can know it.] KP: (as Emiko) [Do you understand the truth behind this incident?] As she says this, her tired eyes stare pleadingly at you. Sayaka: [No, but I wanted to say that line anyway.] KP: What the heck is this!? Sayaka: Remember that my character looks up to detectives! (lol) Sasahara: [Sorry, we haven't uncovered the truth yet. But we needed you to assemble here anyway.] Miyako: Now we're all here, just hanging around. Tatsumi: [Setting that point aside for now, we are all in this mansion, dealing with a situation that exists far outside common sense. Something terrible is lurking in the mansion, waiting to prey upon us. It's important for us to stay together. Otherwise, what happened to me and Sougo-san could happen to you too.] And with that, I show them my wound. Miyako: He really did show them (lol). KP: (as Emiko) [Anisan died from a wound like that?] Tatsumi: [I came pretty close to dying myself.] Sayaka: [It went after me as well. If I hadn't studied karate, I would have been in big trouble.] KP: It's a little hard for them to accept the situation as it is, but after Tatsumi-sensei shows them he suffered the same kind of wound that Sougo-san died from, they are beginning to believe your story. I think your team's delegate should roll (Persuade) to get them completely on board. Tatsumi: Sounds like a job for me. (rolls dice) Made it. [We need to know everything. Don't hold anything back when we ask you questions.] KP: They look like they are uncomfortable with the idea, but are willing to play along. Sayaka: [Was there something you didn't tell us when we questioned you earlier?] Sasahara: How scary, Sayaka-chan! (lol) Miyako: That doesn't sound like a detective. (lol) KP: (as Emiko) [Something I know but didn't say . . . ] She has a perplexed look. Tatsumi: I have the feeling that these guys aren't really evil per se. They just bothered Touzo-san too much about money. Miyako: I'm on the same page. Touzo-san didn't understand them. Sasahara: But Touzo-san was nuts. KP: Tomomi didn't think he was as crazy as you say. Sasahara: That's right. He was trying to leave something behind - that would outlast him. Sayaka: If we all stay in this room, we'll need some kind of charm to act as a barrier. That's what I'm expecting. But I don't think we'll find one. Tatsumi: Can you tell us about the room? KP: I can. It's a large room used for relaxation. As befits the owner of the house, it's luxurious and spacious. The family is resting on chairs from the study or on the bed here. They've moved the partitions aside. Sasahara: Sounds like they will be able to get along here. KP: Bookshelves full of books are in a line along the walls. They are stacked with books about business, adventure stories, records of mountain climbing, materials that had to do with the company, and things Makoto Ichi did not throw away. In fact, you get the feeling he didn't throw things away. Everything looks well-organized though. Miyako: It's like the room has an affinity with him. Sayaka: Are there any strange patterns on the walls, or something that obviously looks like a charm or an ofuda? KP: N to the O. Tatsumi: I hoped we'd find one if we came here. KP: This room is full of stuff. You can search through it if you want, but it'll take a lot of time. Miyako: What if we made a targeted search? Sayaka: We could try to find something about a "heart that regrets Makoto Ichi's fate". OST:  Sasahara: Tomomi-san, did Touzo-san ever go into this room? KP: (as Tomomi) [Hmm. Let me think. I do have some memories of him going into this room alone.] Sasahara: Remember what Touzo-san said? Maybe he was hinting about looking into this right before the Hound of Tindalos was summoned. Tatsumi: Where, though? Sasahara: Conditions aren't ideal, but the only way to deal with this will be to search the room, inch by inch. KP: I have no problem with that approach. Are you okay with how long that is going to take? Sayaka: I'll lend a hand. Tatsumi: I could use the time to look over either the G'harne Fragments or the Eltdown Shards. KP: Reading a Mythos book takes a long while, and you don't have the time to do a full reading of either one. You could skim through them looking to find particular information while they comb through the room. Tatsumi: Can I look for ways to repel and dismiss a Hound of Tindalos? KP: Lookee here, this knuckle fluffin' whatchamacallit's throwing out words his character doesn't know! (lol) Sasahara: Ah, you're right. My bad. I do some research on 'the black haze demon that comes out of the corner'. This black haze demon has glowing green eyes and a horrible red tongue, and has some type of horrid, corrosive venom. I'll do research using that phrasing. KP: That sounds okay to me. Miyako, what are you going to do? Miyako: Searching through the room will require application of the (Spot Hidden) skill. I think I'll leave that to Sayaka. While they search through the room, I'll use my (Library Use) skill to go through the books you mentioned before. KP: Even though you took pains to gather everyone together, you're going to go off and do things on your own? Sayaka: [There must be some kind of clue in this room! Everyone, help me look through it!] KP: I have some weird Investigators. Sayaka: I roll my (Spot Hidden) (rolls dice). I made it. KP: Good! You find there is nothing hidden in the room. Sasahara: There may not be anything to find here. Sayaka: What a downer. Miyako: (Library Use) roll ftw . . . (rolls dice) made it! KP: You learn that Makoto Ichi really loved outdoor activities. There are a lot of books with that theme. It also looks like he has a good collection of fanzines. Many of these have to do with rock music. He also has some materials that have to do with work. Miyako: Is there anything that's locked? KP: Yes! Miyako: Really!? KP: Yes! There is a shelf that's sealed with a bicycle lock. Or what looks like one. It's got a number padlock. Miyako: Is anyone here a Master of Unlocking? Sasahara: Not me. Miyako: Emiko-san, do you know this combination? KP: (as Emiko) [Sorry, I don't know it.] Miyako: This is not so good. We'll have to run through all the numbers to open it. Tatsumi: I see if the combination is written in either the Eltdown Shards or the G'harne Fragments. Though I doubt it's in either one. Miyako: Why not try the G'harne Fragments. Sayaka: Yes. When the Hound of Tindalos apppears, we'll yell "Ga-haaaaaa!" in surprise and horror. KP: What's that all about? OST:  Tatsumi: Since the two of them think it's the right one, I'll read the G'harne Fragments. It's in English, so let me make my (Other Language) roll for English. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: Within the text of the G'harne Fragments, you find something very interesting. =============== Info From The G'harne Fragments =============== "By scrying with a Glass of Mortlan, one could perceive a world beyond our space and time. A wizard knows such journeys are not without danger. Let him beware. In the the ages before Man, a dangerous trap awaits. Hunters lurk in awful spiral towers, like unclean lumps. They exist to devour what is pure." Tatsumi: Wait, a piece of glass? What about that lens we saw inside the wooden puzzle box? Was that the Glass of Mortlan? KP: We have to determine something else first. You learned a snippet of the terrible truths contained within the lost city of G'harne. Roll a D6 and subtract that from your current Sanity. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Grimoires Miyako reporting in again. My favorite grimoire is the Book of Eibon. Grimoires in the Cthulhu TRPG occupy a weird little space. Player characters aren't sure if they should use them or destroy them, you see. I bet all of you have heard of something called the Necronomicon and know a little about it. That one is so famous people think it reallly exists and they tried hard to find a copy. In the world of the Cthulhu TRPG, once many books like this existed, but many of them are lost or are in the hands of private collectors, leaving only their names behind, much like a beautiful singer whose career suddenly stops, leaving fans in search of her, wanting her to perform again. The books we currently have in our possession, the Eltdown Shards and the G'harne Fragments, are rather minor works compared to the legendary and powerful Necronomicon. These books contain knowledge that is beyond mere human reckoning; as such they can be very useful to our Investigators even though they are dangerous to our Sanity statistics. The books are double-edged swords; the more we read them, the more truth we can learn about the universe, but the more learn , the more insane we become. Be careful to only use these books in small doses! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tatsumi: One reaps what one sows. It follows that my SAN will go down. C'mon, roll low for me. (rolls dice) I just lost another 2 points of Sanity. I've lost 12 SAN since we started this game. Sasahara: It looks like the lens was constructed and enchanted specifically for viewing the past. Tatsumi: The book talked about unclean lumps. I bet it was talking about those Hounds of Tindalos. KP: Excuse me. (rolls dice). I think I have some bad news. Nothing happened. Tatsumi: I got smacked down hard for that, but the information was useful. Sasahara: I've got it! We'll open the device and use the lens again! We can use it to talk to Touzo-san and get him to explain how to deal with this! Tatsumi: Rewriting history, huh? That could be awesome if it actually works. Miyako: Wouldn't you need to have good timing to pull that off? Tatsumi: We also need to be sure that he can hear noises originating from this point in time. Sayaka: What if It shows up again? Tatsumi: There's also the possibility of us making contact with another Hound of Tindalos. Sasahara: Hold up, guys. I've got a good idea. Tatsumi: Testing it out may prove to be too dangerous for us. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: A Ray of Hope -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After acting like famous detectives, the Investigators had assembled the NPCs. It was time to test out an theory that they chanced upon rather late in the game. After listening to their jibber jabber, the Keeper started to roll some dice. Sayaka: Keeper, what are you doing? KP: I'm seeing if the creatures are going to attack now. (lol) Sayaka: Oh dear. Sasahara: I guess the Hound of Tindalos can attack us here after all. KP: (checks result of dice roll) Oh, that's bad. Nothing happens. Sasahara: Looks like we can't take it easy. OST:  Sayaka: Can Tomomi-san roll to see if she finds something the rest of us missed? KP: Sure, I'll roll to see if she finds anything the room belonging to the deceased. Tatsumi: Good thinking, Sayaka-chan. KP: It seems that being in the room reminds her of the accident. You get the idea that she doesn't want to be there. Sasahara: Maybe if these two can hold a funeral service for Makoto Ichi, Touzo-san's fury will be appeased. Tatsumi: I find that dubious in the extreme. Miyako: I believe in this idea. I think if we can get Emiko-san and the rest to hold a proper memorial for the late Makoto, all of these problems will subside. It's an idea worth testing. Sasahara: How can we satisfy Touzo-san? If we understood how, it'd be smooth sailing. Sayaka: [Why don't we ask them for more information about the accident in which he died?] KP: (as Masahiro) [ He died near the mountain he loved the most. He had climbed it many times.] Sayaka: Which mountain in the Yarigadake range was it? KP: The Hida Mountains (Northern Alps). The part he liked was in Nagano prefecture. Sayaka: Yosh! Let's go there to find some clues! Sasahara: We can't do that! Miyako: Hold up, folks. Are there any souveniers from that area lying about? KP: (as Masahiro) [All matters concerning his mountain climbing are in folders. We was careful - he always inspected weather reports, the equipment he was going to use, and so on. It's all there in the files.] Miyako: Did we find that among the books and documents on the bookshelves? KP: Yes, and those records went back to his university days. Miyako: Let's search for his final record - the Yarigadake trip. KP: You start to look through his records. He's got records of his trips to the big sites in throughout Japan - the ones many people go to out of custom. You get towards the end and realize the files that have to do with the Yarigadake trip are absent. They are not there. Miyako: Where on earth are they!? I'll look throughout the bookshelves for those records. KP: You don't find them. Your mind thinks back to the shelf that had something locked inside. Miyako: This place is suspicious! We need to get those four digits to open the lock! Sasahara: I doubt it'll be something as easy as a birthdate. KP: (Sharp as a knife!) Whose birthdate do you mean? Sasahara: I try the birthdates of all of them - Makoto Ichi, Yuika-chan, and Makoto's wife. KP: (as Emiko) [But . . . I don't know their birth dates.] KP: You are able to get the birth dates from Yuika, along with her birthday. You try all of them. The lock does not open. Sasahara: I knew it couldn't be that easy. Sayaka: Just the same, these bookshelves are cho-suspicious. Miyako: Something here is worth reading. Sayaka: A heart that regrets Makoto Ichi's fate . . . Sasahara: I hate to trouble her, but we're running out of options. I want to ask Yuika-chan some questions. [When you remember your Daddy, do any numbers spring to mind?] KP: To sweet little Yuika-chan, who has no detailed knowledge of the accident, seeing you lot combing through her daddy's possessions and room fills her with unease and unhappiness. She looks like she wants to leave the room and does so. Sasahara: [I'm sorry! ] Miyako: So we didn't get to ask her much. Sasahara: Her heart is lamenting Makoto Ichi. She is in reflection. =============== Keeper's Notes: =============== After that deliberations and discussions of the evidence continued and the group began to chew over what they knew. It was a time of quiet thinking and not much action. In truth, I hadn't intended this mystery to be a stumper. To get everyone's brains working again, I ordered chocolate parfaits for the group. The brain needs calories to work. After eating something sweet and calming down, Sasahara thought about the situation again. And then he came up with the answer. OST:  Sasahara: We've tried birth dates. Let's try the anniversary of Makoto Ichi's death. Tatsumi: By Jove, I think he's got it! KP: (as Emiko) [Makoto Ichi's death day . . . when was that?] Sasahara: How on earth could you forget that!? It was your request! Sayaka: How could you forget such an important date?! Two people died on that mountain expedition! KP: (as Emiko) [I was late getting there! I couldn't come right from work!] Right after she says that, Masahiro speaks up. [I was stuck at my company as well. If the boss had given me permission to go, this might not have happened!] Suddenly the two of them begin fighting like siblings. Tatsumi: These melonfarmers are off the chain. Sasahara-kun, would you find out what the death date was from Tomomi-san? Sasahara: [Tomomi-neesan, do you remember what was the date for the anniversary of Makoto Ichi's death? KP: (as Tomomi) [I'm very sorry, but I don't remember the exact date.] Sasahara: It's a shame, but we have to depend on Yuika-chan. She's the only one who'll know the answer. Tatsumi: Meanwhile, these silly adults are still quarreling. It wears thin. I take them off to the corner of the room. [The lot of you, cut this out! It's embarrassing to act so foolishly in front of a child!] Miyako: While he's doing that, Sasahara-kun will ask Yuika-chan about the death anniversary. Sasahara: Okay, I put a serious face for once before I speak to Yuika. [Yuika, next time all of us together will go to your parents' graves to pay our respects. We need to know when their death anniversary is. Will you tell us?] Tatsumi: That's a pretty direct way of asking. Sasahara: I couldn't think of an easy way to ask a child that info! KP: To be fair, now that you mention it I probably couldn't either (lol). Sasahara: See!? KP: To get her to accept that proposal, make _two_ (Persuade) rolls. Sasahara: No problem, my dice are hot tonight. (rolls dice) Got it! OST:  KP: She sees how serious you are and thinks for a bit before answering. [Their death anniversary is on the 10th of October. We'll all go together.] Miyako: That's it! That's the combination! 1 0 1 0! Sasahara: The maid has big emotional reactions. KP: With that information, you're able to open the lock on the bookcase. Inside it are many documents that have to do with the accounting work for the company. Among them is a file about mountain climbing on Mount Yarigadake. Miyako: I will read it. KP: You turn through the pages in the file. It seems a routine account of the equipment and the members of the climbing team, but then you find something out of place - a very old page stuffed among the contents of the file. Miyako: This is it! I read it. KP: The information on the page is written in English. Miyako: Dang it! KP: When he sees your reaction, Masahiro says [It's a shame! Sougo-san would boast of his skill in English!] Miyako: We can't rely on them! This is a job for Tatsumi-sensei! If you would be so kind. Tatsumi: Leave it to me. My (Other Language: English) skill is 81%. (rolls dice) Made it! KP: This page was clearly torn out of an old book. This is what you read [hands Tatsumi's player a note]. =============== Translation of the Old Page ===============
Closed Room Murders and Threats From the Basement
Translator's note: the hashibami tree is called the horned hazel in English. Tatsumi: In short, this is telling us how to send back the Hound of Tindalos? Miyako: (E X A C T L Y ). KP: Now that you've read over that, try to make some INT rolls on D100. Here's the multiplier. Tatsumi: I think this might be for learning how to cast a spell! (rolls dice) And I made it! KP: Tatsumi-sensei has learned how to cast the (Time of the Horned Hazel) spell. You'll need a branch from the horned hazel tree. With it, you'll use the branch to paint a kind of protective magic circle. The circle will require 10 Magic Points to become active, and casting the spell will require 1D6 Sanity points. Additionally, casting the spell will take no less than an hour of concentration and work, and you must not lose your wits while you are creating the circle. Tatsumi: Casting spells consumes a lot of resources. Miyako: It's not one you can cast over and over again. Sayaka: Sorry to ask, but what is a horned hazel? KP: Your character will know if you make a (Know) or a (Biology) check. Same goes for the rest of you. Tatsumi: Although I'm good at (Biology), I'll roll against my (Know) trait. (rolls dice) And I easily made it. KP: Okay, I'm guessing you're going to share this info with everyone else, so I'll save time by telling everyone. The tree is a relative of the same tree that gives us hazelnuts (also known as cobnuts). In Greek mythology, it was used as the material for Hermes' walking stick. It represents a symbol of wisdom, and has been recognized as such for many years. Sayaka: Is that tree in Japan? KP: The horned hazel is native to Japan. It's not a rare plant. Are you going to search for one in the garden? Sasahara: No way, man. It's scary outside. We're going to see if there's one in a pot on the bottom floor of the house. Tatsumi: Touzo-san went to the trouble of including this spell to counter the other one. One would think he'd include keep the tree inside the house. Sayaka: Did I see anything that looked like one among the potted plants? KP: None that you remember. OST:  Miyako: Something that had to do with regretting Makoto Ichi . . . Sayaka: Well, out with it. Let's hear it. Miyako: We might find a branch of that tree in one of the artifacts Makoto left here. KP: There are a lot of his things to go through here. He never threw anything away. Miyako: I'll ask Emiko-san and the rest a question. [Think about Makoto-san for a moment. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of him?] KP: (as Emiko) [ Uhhhhh . . . ] Miyako: [I shall rephrase that. What was his most favorite thing?] Tatsumi [Preferably something akin to a tree branch.] (lol) KP: Masahiro looks thoughtful for a moment. [One thing he really liked to do is make a new walking stick from wood he collected while mountain hiking. He'd make a new one every year.] Miyako: We have it! KP: You remember seeing some quite a few walking sticks in a corner next to where the umbrellas were standing. Sayaka: Right, I get them all and bring them here. We'll find the one made from the wood of that horned hazel thing. KP: Make an (Idea) roll for me, Sayaka-chan. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made the check. KP: All right. You find a stick that looks special. It's a nice-looking one an elderly man might favor. Sayaka: Masahiro-san, does this one ring any bells?] KP: (as Masahiro) [Can't say that it does. And it doesn't look like something you'd use for mountain climbing either, does it?] Tatsumi: I'll try to use my (Biology) skill here. (rolls dice) Not good! I failed. Miyako: I'll use my (Evaluate Treasure) skill here. (rolls dice) Made it. Do I find out anything? KP: Yes, the stick they are talking about looks to be quite old. It does not look like the kind you'd use to climb a mountain with. Sayaka: Have we found anything to prove this isn't the stick we need? Tatsumi: I guess we haven't. Now comes the hard part. How are we going to trap that Hound of Tindalos in the magic circle we'll draw with the cane? Sasahara: We'll have to get it into the circle. Tatsumi: One of us gets to serve as bait. Sasahara: Nooooo! Do not want! =============== Keeper's Notes: =============== After having uncovered a way to fight back, the group busily made their preparations for their confrontation with the Hound of Tindalos. Tatsumi-sensei had already lost a lot of SAN, and with his POW reduced his Magic Points were equally reduced. It would be hard for him to cast the spell, so he gave Sasahara-kun a lecture on how to cast it. Meanwhile Sayaka-chan worked on the box puzzle, trying to find a way to close it at the appropriate time. There was some concern that it could only be opened at 23:00, but after some fiddling they found it could open it outside of those times as well. Sasahara: Where are we going to cast the spell? Where's a good spot? KP: The outside garage is sheltered from the rain and separate from the mansion. It could be a good spot. Sasahara: Not. Outside. KP: Listen, after you finish drawing the circle you've got to thrust the stick right into the center of it. Unless you're drawing in the dirt in the garage, you're going to find that rather difficult. Tatsumi: And split the party again? Sasahara: Why don't we all go to the garage instead? Sayaka: I guess Sasahara-kun will be the bait inside the magic circle. Right! I'll do what I can to make the beast chase me. Sasahara: Aren't you supposed to be the one opening the box puzzle? Miyako: We should also review how to cast the spell and make sure we have everything. Sasahara: I don't like this plan. I'm going to become a doggy chew toy! Sayaka: This is the first I've ever heard of you having purity (lol). Miyako: I'm a little concerned about the whole process. Tatsumi: (while looking over his notes on how to cast the spell) [I'm worried about it as well. The Hound is a powerful opponent. What if It is somehow able to create another earthquake while we are trying to trap it with the circle?] Miyako: I'm trying not to meta-game here, but I need to point something else as well. How long can we expect to hold the monster here with the circle? This is the Cthulhu TRPG; we aren't going to find something that allows us to conveniently send away abberations every week. Sasahara: We aren't trying to hold it in the circle forever. The point of this is to get it back through the lens in the puzzle. Sayaka: I didn't understand what you meant by a monster made from unclean lumps. Tatsumi: The Tindalos creature. Miyako: Maybe they favor independently walking alone? They are a Greater Independent Race, after all. Sasahara: Miyako-san is a member of a Servitor Race. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Servitor and Independent Races Hello! I am Miyako, and my favorite Cthulhu Mythos creature is the Great Race of Yith. In the world of the Cthulhu TRPG, many strange creatures dwell in and come from outer space. Many have skills and bodies that exceed human understanding, and may have supernatural powers and advanced technology to boot. These creatures can jump across space and time to our Earth. In short, they are aliens! Some of these aliens have a religion, and others are related to malign alien dieties to some degree. Some dieties use these aliens as messengers and delegates. Ythogtha and the Deep Ones, Ubb and the Yuggya, and Hastur and the Byakhee are all examples of this kind of relationship. These kinds of servant beings tend to view humans as being both tasty and fitting sacrifices. We don't care for them very much, to be frank. Among these species are ones we can not take in a fight, no matter what the circumstances. There are also species that do not revere any particular diety or dieties. These entities live life on their own terms. These entities are collectively called the Indendent Races. Are they mavericks? The Cthulhu TRPG has a bunch of different species with differing goals, and they tend to fall into patterns as Independent or Servitor Races. Coming across most of them is bad for your health. I hope I don't run into them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: I don't think our friend the Tindalos can cause those earthquakes. Weren't those caused by the huge worm-like thing we saw earlier? Tatsumi: That would make sense. Sasahara: Then without getting overconfident and keeping our humility in place, we can focus on casting the spell. Miyako: Won't it be difficult to coordinate your spell with Miyako's work with the puzzle? Sashahara: "You captured a chinpokomon!" Tatsumi: "I'm going to take your Tindalos and put it in this bag, where it will flourish or expire depending on fate!" Miyako: "Tindalos aren't like ChuChuNesMees. They haven't the heart for such endeavors." KP: What're you clowning me for? Can you see that I am serious? Time for me to roll on the random encounter table for these things. Sayaka: Nuoooo! Do not want! Tatsumi: If Sasahara and Sayaka are busy here, maybe the rest of us could be in reserve inside the mansion, waiting on standby. Sasahara: I want to be the one protecting Yuika-chan. Tatsumi: This guy is . . . Sayaka: Uh, I don't think it's necessary for me to be here. I'll teach Sasahara-san the way to work the box puzzle. He can take care of everything himself. Sasahara: I was only joking! Don't leave me alone with It! Tatsumi: Since these two are going to be dealing with the monster, why don't I give them some stat buffs with (Psychoanalysis)? Miyako: That seems like a good choice. If Sashara-kun casts the spell, he's sure to lose some SAN. We don't want him to fall into madness and fail. Tatsumi: The Hound of Tindalos will come. Kiss your SAN goodbye. Someone is going to fall into madness. KP: I find that statement very amusing coming from you. OST: Miyako: Maybe we can all make it through okay! Sasahara: It's surprising Miyako-san has lasted this long. Sayaka: She's tenacious! She's still here even though she only has 21 points of Sanity left! Miyako: Don't worry, Tatsumi-sensei. If you lose your mind, I'll follow you. Tatsumi: Miyako-kun, since you came into my life I've done nothing but lose Sanity points. Miyako: How mean! Sayaka: We're going into battle. Tatsumi-sensei, you should tell Miyako-san how much you care for her. Tatsumi: What a pain. [Miyako-kun, I don't want you to be in danger. Why don't you wait inside the mansion with everyone else, where it'll be safer?] And to convince her of that, I'm throwing in a (Persuade) skill roll. KP: Ah, you probably don't need to do that for another Investigator. Miyako: Then, after looking carefully to the left and to the right, I'll take my leave. [Your kindness for me is too much! Thank you, Tatsumi-sensei!] Tatsumi: This is too much. I feel like I really am about to be killed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Showdown with the Hound of Tindalos -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SFX:  OST:  Keeper's Notes: The Investigators carefully prepared themselves for the final battle, and sent Miyako-san back to keep an eye on the folks in the mansion. With her out of danger, the rest waited in the garage to face the Tindalos creature in battle. The Beast wanted to attack people that were either alone or in small groups. With only three people in one place, and the rest in one area in the mansion, the horrid monster decided to make Its move - and eventually appeared before the Investigators! KP: Surrounded by a forest enshrouded in darkness, you see rain continue to pour down in buckets from the evening sky. Although you almost fail to see it, from a sharp point in one of a large tree's roots, which oddly juts forth from the earth, a roiling, black hazy mist begins to form. From within it, ever so slowly, a tentacle-like object juts forth, tastes the air, and then comes forth with the rest of the body. It is totally silent, and it begins to move towards the garage, closing the distance between you effortlessly. The body of the thing is jet black, and it reeks of foulness. Its burning eyes shine with an unholy, unquenchable hunger. As if it had a separate will of its own, the horrible, whip-like tongue of the Hound twitches and shudders with gruesome anticipation, sensing that prey is near. OST:  Sasahara: Kitaaa! KP: The Thing has scented you, and it wants your [purity]. There is no reasoning with It, and your fate is certain. From beyond space and time itself, this unspeakable horror is here now to take your lives! Now roll (Sanity)! Tatsumi: It's okay - I won't fail this time. KP: Shyeah, right. You have no basis for that. Sayaka: I'll go first. (rolls dice) Oh, good. I made it! Safe! Tatsumi: There's no way I can fail this! (rolls dice) Oh, okay. I made it. I'm all right! Sasahara: If Tatsumi-sensei can make it, so can I! (rolls dice) Yes! An easy victory! Miyako: (polite applause) KP: You guys are boring. At this point someone should fall into madness. OST:  Sayaka: I lose two points of Sanity. I have 64 points left. Tatsumi: Hehm. I also lose two points. I am sitting on 58 points of Sanity. Sasahara: Blech! I lose three points! 58 points left over here. KP: Well then, it looks like you all won't be knocked out in the first round. Combat will now begin. We'll determine Initiative. The Hound is going to be using hand to hand attacks, and he goes on his DEX, which is a 10. Because Tatsumi-sensei and the Hound have the same DEX, we'll have a roll off on D10. Whoever gets the higher result will go before the other. (rolls dice) Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Got a 4. KP: And I rolled a 3. Okay, it looks like it'll be Sasahara --> Sayaka --> Tatsumi --> Hound of Tindalos. Most of you (except for Tatsumi-sensei) have pretty high DEX scores. Miyako: It's better to go before your opponent. Sasahara: I just realized something. The Hound hasn't closed the distance with us. That means It can only use his Movement action this round. It won't be able to attack us. Isn't that right? (All the Investigators look at the Keeper with sparkling eyes.) KP: (grr) All right. That makes sense. It moves closer to your group this round. Sasahara: That's great news. (lol) Sayaka: Tatsumi-sensei goes before the Hound in this round. Since we don't need any (Psychiatry) buffs right now, he could just run away. Miyako: That would be the worst possible option. If he runs off by himself, the Hound of Tindalos will pursue and get him. Sayaka: Ah, nevermind. Forget I said anything. Sasahara: I think I'll hold my action until it arrives here. KP: You're a calculating sort. Okay, the creature draws closer. Sasahara: I use my action! Time of the Horned Hazel! I expend my 1D6 Sanity points and the 10 magic points to cast the spell. KP: This isn't a children's card game. You don't need to announce it like that. Sasahara: This is important! Roll 4 or fewer! (rolls a die) Urrgh! I rolled 5! Miyako: The good news is that it's not enough to cause Indefinite Insanity. The bad news is that it is enough to cause Temporary Insanity. KP: C'mon, it's time for the (Idea) roll. Roll those bones. Sasahara: I've got an (Idea) derived statistic at 75%. (rolls dice) I made it. Dang it! KP: Your understanding of logic and reasoning is altered by your insane insights into a malevolent, merciless universe. You gain five points of (Cthulhu Mythos). Let me see what kind of Insanity manifests. (flips pages of book, then rolls dice) ! I rolled up something really serious! Sasahara: Is it something really bad? KP: Your mind doesn't crumble until you finish casting the spell. At the very moment you finish, your brain shuts down part of its functions to protect itself. To protect itself from the unholy and awful sight, it stops your sense of sight. You can no longer see. Sasahara: That's not good! KP: The rest of you see that Sasahara has closed his eyes. For some reason he won't open them. Tatsumi: But did he finish the spell. KP: Probably. Miyako: Tatsumi-sensei, do you want to run away now? Sasahara: At least let me feel around with my hands. KP: No way, you already cast the spell and you have no actions left. If no one else is going to take any actions, we'll go on to the next combat round. Be aware that on this round the Beast will catch up to you guys and begin launching attacks. Tatsumi: No! I don't want to lose any more POW! I can't! Sayaka: I activate the box puzzle. KP: Very good! That was probably the best thing you could do in this situation. Sayaka: My turn comes up before Tatsumi-sensei runs away. I'll open the box puzzle. KP: You didn't wig out; you'll have no problem opening the box puzzle. Sayaka: I open it with that kind of pop you get from opening a cylinder of potato chips, and then I roll the puzzle towards the Hound of Tindalos. Tatsumi: I confirm that they are all right before I run away. [I'll leave this job to the younger generations!] Sayaka: Isn't It going to attack with Its tongue? KP: Maybe not. It turns out that They mainly maul with their clawed paws, which acts as a carrier for Their awful poison. Miyako: The same poison that affected Emiko-san? KP: This is serious business. Do you want to die from having your soul sucked out, or do you want to die by being torn apart? Sayaka: I don't like either of those options. KP: Hush and get ready to roll your (Dodge). Sayaka: Okay. KP: It looks like It's going to attack with Its tongue. Let's see who It will attack. (rolls dice) The winner is . . . Sayaka-chan! Sayaka: I'm not worried! I'll dodge it! Wa ha ha ha ha! KP: This Thing has a tongue attack of 90%. Everyone else: Aaaaaah! KP: (rolls dice) You're hit. Everyone else: Booo! Sayaka: C'mon! (rolls dice) I made it! I dodge out of the way with a flash! KP: Impressive! That's the second time you've Dodged your way out of trouble. Tatsumi: Way to go, Sayaka-chan! She's clearly the heroine of our story. KP: That is it for this round. Sayaka-chan and Sasahara-kun are probably going to get the heck outta there. Tatsumi: I've started a trend. Everyone's leaving. It's the "in" thing to do. Miyako: Sayaka-chan, isn't your blood boiling at the chance to fight a Hound of Tindalos? Sayaka: Not particularly, no. I'm getting out of there! KP: As the two of you run away from the magic circle, the Hound of Tindalos languidly begins to chase . . . but suddenly stops, as if it has run into a wall. A wall that you can't see. Sayaka: It's working! It's working! KP: Suddenly something begins to box It in! The form of the Tindalos begins to erode as more and more of it is pulled towards the circle, and a glowing light appears inside it. Tatsumi: Yes! Go back into the world inside the lens! KP: But then, at that moment - Sayaka: Oh no, there's more!? KP: Small tremors had intermittently occured over the space of the evening, but now a huge earthquake occurs. Its appearance is so sudden that you think the earthquake is the Hound's doing. Miyako: There is a possibility that the mansion will shake to pieces because of this earthquake. I begin getting everyone ready to evacuate in case things get really bad. KP: You suddenly think about what the earthquake means for the integrity of the magic circle. Roll (Idea) or (Geology), please. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Got it! KP: Due to the earthquake, the tree branch in the middle of the circle might be knocked over. Tatsumi: Oh damn it . . . who set up the supports for the branch? KP: (checks something) But before that happens, the Hound is pulled back into the lens inside the box puzzle. Everyone except KP: There's something else, isn't there? KP: As Miyako-chan closes up the box puzzle, the Hound of Tindalos is shut inside it. The puzzle has stopped moving and now to an untrained eye would look like an ordinary object. Miyako: Oh, that's good. I'm glad it had this kind of emergency mechanism. KP: So long as someone doesn't foolishly open up the box, the Hound of Tindalos will be sealed away forever. Tatsumi: Speaking of sealing things away, I'm going to find a safe place to hide that box where no one can find it. Sayaka: What about the earthquake? KP: The moment you closed it up in the box, the earthquake became totally quiet. Tatsumi: I wonder what caused those? Miyako: Now that the earthquake's over, I leave the mansion to check on everyone. I want to make sure they're okay. Tatsumi: [Ahh. Everything is over now.] Sasahara: [Really? It doesn't look like everything's settled to me.] Sayaka: [The monsters are gone now. You can open your eyes.] KP: When you open your eyes, as they adjust to the light you see the clouds starting to part. The dark thunderclouds, which had wrapped the sky in darkness, are leaving now. The rain stops. Before you unfolds a beautiful sunrise. Sasahara: I think we're nearing the ending. KP: You also hear a thup-thup-thup sound caused by helicopter blades slicing through the air. Now that the storm is over the rescue team's helicopter was finally able to get over here. Miyako: [The nightmare is over, Tatsumi-sensei.] Tatsumi: I wish it had been a nightmare! That demon sucked away three points of POW! Give me back my charm point, damn it! Sayaka: Shall I open up the box? (lol) Tatsumi: Nuoooo! Do not want! KP: As you leave in the rescue helicopter, the receding form of the mansion and its surrounding trees start to look like a model set. Looking at the surroundings reveals that the mountain was flattened in an instant, as if by a giant. Miyako: What on earth could have caused that catastrophic damage? Is it that giant thing which tried to eat the car? KP: Yes, that was the work of something the Hound of Tindalos called up. We refer to them as Dholes. Because it thought it might need help against you, it whistled up that nasty beast. It caused the earthquakes. Tatsumi: A dhole! How horrible. KP: It was hiding for most of the adventure. While Sougo was killed by the Hound, Masahiro-san would have died too if not for your speedy intervention. With this second will business turning out to not be the real thing, it is revealed that Tomomi-san has been granted management rights to the remainder of Touzo's fortune and guardianship of Yuika-chan. She's done a good job so far and it looks like she'll be able to continue much as she has. Sasahara: It's been rough for the kid. She lost her parents and she also lost her uncle. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Dholes Miyako here once again. My favorite fruit would be the peach. As someone who has to deal with it, I try not to be fearful of the horrid creatures which exist in the Cthulhu Mythos TRPG. Unfortunately there are beasts which are malign and massive that we can't just avoid them by not thinking about them. Dhole-san is one such creature. You might think it's a oversized caterpillar when looking at one, but in truth it's a gigantic worm. The thing is huge. Really, really huge. The thing's SIZ rating is 500. To put that into perspective for non-gamers, that's 50,000 tonnes! The thing's huge bulk makes it very powerful. Go on a diet, already! The monster is so massive that Its Crush attack, which has a 50% of succeeding, flattens anyone with 50,000 tonnes of weight and smashes victims like overripe grapes. The damage is so catastrophic that there's a chance a victim's survivors might not find anything to bury. The monster's entry doesn't even list a damage bonus. It just says "enough to flatten a battleship" and that damage from the monster causes "automatic death". How funny! This time around the Dhole was summoned by the Hound of Tindalos, but I'm not sure why they have such a close relationship. The very moment Investigators see one of these monsters, it's all over for them. Try to get along until then. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ KP: If you really feel that way, try to act like it once in a while. Sasahara: Hmm. Once my new book comes out, she'll be the very first one to get a copy. KP: Oh yes. She'll be thrilled, for sure. Sayaka: I plan to be there when you give her the book. Sasahara: I don't understand. Sayaka: Because I want to make sure you don't become a criminal. Sasahara: I was trying to do something nice for her as a creator! It's service for the fans! KP: For getting rid of that awful Hound of Tindalos, not to mention surviving through the adventure, all Investigators earn 1D10 Sanity. Miyako: That's not much. ( ;_; ) KP: I wasn't finished. I'll give you 1D3 Sanity on top of that because so many NPCs survived. Miyako: That's better, I suppose. I wish it was more than 1D3 points though. KP: You still haven't lost your marbles yet. Try to think positively. In business, we'd say you're in the black. Tatsumi: I lost 14 points that adventure. It won't be a gain for me. Sasahara: And I lost 12 points. I'll need to roll like a boss to get those back. Miyako: I lost 9 points. I'm glad I wasn't there at the end of the adventure. My 6 POW is to blame. Sayaka: I was on the top of my game tonight. I only lost 9 points of Sanity. Mostly I was nickel and dimed by one point losses. Miyako: You're the heroine of the story. Maybe that's the difference between the heroine and her sidekick. Note: After that, it was time to tally up Sanity gains. Sayaka: I was at 64 points, but I got back 8. Now I'm sitting on top of 72 points for a gain of 2 points! Tatsumi: I was at 56 points, but I got back 7. Now I have 63 points for a loss of 7 points! Miyako: I only had 21 left, but I got back 4. Four!? I now have 25 points for a net loss of five points! Sasahara: I had 53 points, but I got back 7. Now I have 60 points - which means I still am down 5 points from where I was before! KP: Aside from Sayaka, you guys are babes in the woods. Miyako: I don't have faith in my ability to remain sane in the next scenario. KP: You'll be struggling along until you hit zero. (lol) Miyako: Heh, what a bother (putting on a show of false confidence). KP: That's it! We're finished. Time to wrap up and call it a day. Everyone: otsukaresama deshita! (TL Note: Thanks for all your hard work!) Conclusion of Scenario One, Consultation with Miyako-chan After everyone else had left, Miyako's player remained behind. We went to a nearby coffee shop to reflect on the game's outcome. OST:  Miyako: Okay, I'm calming down now. KP: That's the first thing you say? Miyako: That was pretty intense back there. (KP's Note: After the Hound of Tindalos attacked, for about an hour the players were grumbling about it. I left that out of the replay. They were also so worried by the Thing that they didn't take any action at all. The scenario creator should have thought of more things to prompt them to take action. As a Keeper, I think that was also a mistake on my part.) KP: A lot of the details were uncovered once you guys started poking around Makoto Ichi's room. Though you took a while to get over there. Miyako: Sorry, we had no idea at first. KP: I wanted to drop more hints, but if I make it too easy everyone will get mad at me. Miyako: That Hound of Tindalos monster was too awful. After seeing the effects of those grotesquely horrific attacks, most people would be afraid to do anything around One. KP: I did give you those NPCs as sources of info, you know. Miyako: We had all these options available to us, but we didn't know which ones to choose. KP: Maybe I should have used pushier NPCs. Miyako: Maybe so. I don't remember Yuika-chan saying anything at all. KP: She was designed to be a character that Sasahara would find interesting. Yuika-chan didn't have anything to contribute in this scenario, though. Miyako: This was one of those inheritance mysteries. With such an eccentric cast of characters, maybe you should have had them take more unusual actions. KP: I meant to do that. And perhaps I could have emphasized the close connection the aunt in the group had to the deceased. Miyako: They were a doubtful bunch. I'm not sure I could have trusted any information I got from them, as they were full of vice. KP: This first scenario of the campaign took place in a standard setting, the storm-encircled, isolated mansion. What did you think? Miyako: It's a classic pattern. Anyone who looked at the setup could realize what you were aiming for. KP: I'm glad if it worked out that way. Miyako: The Dhole forced us to stay in the area by destroying the roads, and we got the general idea that we had to do something about that Hound of Tindalos. KP: I sense a "but" coming. Miyako: Sorry, I'm still coming down from the adventure. KP: Still? Miyako: There was one thing. That odd box had to be opened at 0100 on a specific day, according to our information. What was the meaning behind that? KP: Yes, the lens allowed a viewer to look exactly one month forward in time. Touzo knew of his death ahead of time and planned things so the box would be opened in the future when he was looking at it in the past. Miyako: That was a strange setup. KP: I needed it. Remember that people trying to go across the gulfs of time are subject to being hunted by the Hounds of Tindalos? Miyako: Yes, I remember that. KP: As It killed Touzo, It found you lot looking back through time. And when Sougo went off on his own, It thought he'd make for some easy snacking. Miyako: A pretty surprising setup. For a creature that stalks and hunts, Its arrival is pretty flashy. I could really feel terror from this strange alien creature going around, attacking at will. KP: I had meant to include more of that, but the Investigators stayed together in a posse. That, along with immediate identification of the beast, made things harder for me. I wanted to keep It in mystery a little bit longer. Presenting the story in a dramatic way became a lot harder. Miyako: Sorry for participating in that. Still, you could have hyped up the horror of Its venom and soul-sucking tongue. And knowing the thing is a Hound of Tindalos isn't going to make most Cthulhu TRPG players feel very confident. Quite the opposite. KP: I suppose so. (My ears are hurting a little bit as I wanted this to be a ton of fun. So I look away for a bit.) Miyako: We're all veterans when it comes to the Cthulhu TRPG. We can identify creatures very quickly. Maybe that makes things harder for our Keepers. KP: I don't feel that way. Sometimes these things are even scarier if we know them. Miyako: But what if it was something we didn't know? I'd have more fun squaring off a creature that you created yourself - one we had no prior knowledge of. KP: Wow, you're making me feel like a famous creator. Miyako: No more Hounds of Tindalos though. They suck souls. KP: Poor Tatsumi-sensei (evillol) Miyako: Is that something you should be laughing at? KP: Going on to our next issue, the next scenario will be set during the summer season. For that reason, I'm going to set it up as a vacation scenario. Got any interesting ideas? Miyako: Not the sea! Do not want! OST:  KP: What are you saying? "Summer time! Beach time!" And it's also time for swimsuits! KP Note: Setting any Cthulhu TRPG story near the ocean means the players will look at it with wary eyes. Or any scenario set anywhere, come to think of it. Miyako: Well, you probably need some scenes with swimsuits for the replay artist to draw. KP: There's another reason too. I don't want to serve up the same thing over and over again. You guys were boxed in heavily in this scenario. I want an open-air one where you have freedom to travel, and this next one should have a radically different tone. Miyako: I guess a vacation scenario would be good for that. KP: What will be the theme of the next scenario? Miyako: This time around we had a mystery. KP: Think of this like a movie genre. What will the next one be like? Miyako: Hmm, a movie about people at the beach on vacation. How about Jaws, or some wild animal that causes a big panic? KP: Hmm. Sounds interesting. Miyako: And speaking of terrible things happening to people on summer vacation, remember Friday the 13th? It'd be fun to do a nice splatter scenario - these work well with a vacation setting. Perhaps a serial killer is hiding in the general area where we have our vacation? KP: (evil grin) Ah, a splatter scenario! A villain carving through your Investigators, leaving them in bloody chunks while their Sanity points burn away! (evillol) Miyako: Wait! I was fibbing! That doesn't sound like a good scenario idea at all! KP: Next time, we'll have a scenario sans any Hounds of Tindalos. It'll have a simple and plain setup, but the events will be showy and loud! Miyako: Oh no! My Sanity points! I won't be able to keep them! OST:  KP's notes: Thanks to advice from Miyako-san, I was able to decide upon the format of the next scenario. Against a backdrop of a relaxed vacation at the beach under the hot summer sun, the fun of their relaxation gives way to a splatter terror suspense story! I'll honor Miyako-san's request by upping the number of Sanity rolls required. I'll use an orthodox preparation to get players in the proper mindset, and although I'm not a professional writer I think I can come up with some devastating scenes to drive the stake home. For inspiration I'm going to watch some horror movies to get in mind the standard situations one will experience in those stories. If I invoke some of the terror those scenes inspired, there will certainly be Sanity rolls required. Because my players are knowledgeable, I want to not only test their sanity, but also make them aware that the brief span of knowledge they have is woefully insufficient! OST:  Because there will be many Sanity rolls in this scenario, I should probably give them hints when they are heading towards something unpleasant. That would be the smart thing to do. If they stay together, they should be able to weather the Sanity storm to some degree. The lead-in will be with Sasahara-kun's childhood friend and Yuika-chan on another side adventure. It'd be interesting for Yuika-chan to be a witch, and I think Sasahara-kun ought to have more chances to use his (History) skill. I'll throw some in some opportunities. Because this previous scenario started with Sayaka-chan and the R'lyeh Company group being asked to help out with something, I think I'll skip that framing device for the next scenario. However, it will begin with a strange customer involving them in another matter. There are many objects in the Cthulhu Mythos that are charged up with spirit. Since it's the right occasion, I'll throw in a reference to a famous book. It's important to give fan service to the Cthulhu TRPG players, after all. ======================= Scenario II [The Case of Pickman's Painting] ======================= -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Development of the Investigators -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: Well, it seems that Miyako-san's Sanity is more resilient than I had thought. It's also time for us to get started with the super-specially-awesome-interesting Scenario II. Miyako: Hold up, it's not as if I passed every Sanity test you called for. KP: But before we do that, it's time for our Investigators to grow a little bit. Get our your character sheets and get ready to roll for those skills which were checked last game. Notes: In the Cthulhu TRPG, if Investigators succeed with particular skills, they are checked - and there's a chance those skills can improve. Think of it like character growth. To put it in concrete terms, players have to roll over the number of the skill to see if the skill improves. If the players do so, the relevant skills go up by 1D10%. The lower the skill, the greater the chance of it increasing. The more skills you use, the greater your chance of improving some of them. (the rustling of paper, the clacking of dice bouncing around on a table) OST: Tatsumi: Nice! My (Psychoanalysis) skill went up from 89% to 98%! KP: Hmm. I think you'll also gain 2D6 Sanity from totally mastering a skill. Sayaka: Really? Is that in the rules too? KP: There aren't many things like this in the rules, but if your character exceeds 90% in a skill, his Sanity goes up as a result of the boost to his self-confidence. SFX:  Tatsumi: [I can feel myself on the verge of a breakthrough! ] (rolls dice) I got back 11 points of Sanity! I'm not too far away from where I started! Everyone: Congratulations! (applause) KP: Anyway, now that everyone's done with that, we can get down to brass tacks. This scenario takes place five months after your previous adventure, and it will occur during your summer vacation. Miyako: Just as planned: a vacation scenario. KP: Now there's a gap between the last scenario and this one. You guys have had a few months to study things you like. Maybe you had some training. To reflect that, you get to roll for one chosen skill five times - and if you exceed the skill even once, you get the improvement bonus! Sasahara: Sounds fine to me. I will try to kick up a skill above 90% so I get that Sanity bonus the same way our professor did. KP: I don't know if you should sink all those rolls into that. You only have an 11% chance of succeeding. It'd be easy to boof every roll. Sasahara: Look here! Doing the impossible is what Investigators do! "The riskier the road, the greater the profit!" KP: If I were you, I'd look into plunking points into (Climb) or (Other Language: English). Sasahara: Bleah. Tatsumi-sensei's a pro at English and no one wants to boast about a proficiency with (Climb). Tatsumi: Grr. So far I've wasted two rolls. I want to bring this Skill up to a dependable rate, like 50%. KP: You can also use your down time to read those horrid books you picked up earlier. Tatsumi: The Eltdown Shards and the G'harne Fragments. Yes, I remember them. I'll read them. Sasahara: Since when!? Tatsumi: Don't sweat the details. I am sure you'll be busy looking after Yuika-chan. KP: You know that reading a grimoire is very difficult. Will reading both of them be a good way to spend your time? Tatsumi: Very well, I'll start off with the Eltdown Shards. Here goes my (Other Language: English) roll for my period of study. (rolls dice) Dang it! I failed! KP: That's too bad. The English used in the book was exceptionally difficult to understand; as a result you failed to comprehend the meaning of much of the text. OST:  Tatsumi: Very well. Then let's try the G'harne Fragments. (rolls dice) This time I made my roll. KP: As you pore over the work, you learn more of the lost city of G'harne and the awful Things that made it Their home. You learn more of the secret history of the world, with the events in the work taking place from Pleistocene times to the dawn of human civilization. Several beings that walked upright that were not men are discussed. Other civilizations and cities with doubtful names such as Ib, Leng, Thep-Dya, R'lyeh, Xuthultan, and Lh'Yibi are mentioned, as are terrible dieties with names like Nug, Yeb, and Bokrug. You find several star charts in the work, as well as descriptions of other secret cities. Comprehending the work will cost you 1D10 Sanity points, and reading the book cover to cover nets you 10 points of Cthulhu Mythos. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Another five points gone. Tsk. Now that I've got a (Cthulhu Mythos) skill of 15%, I think the skills I can be proud of include (Archaeology), (Antropology), and (Cthulhu Mythos)! Miyako: The look in Tatsumi-sensei's eyes becomes crazier and crazier! Tatsumi: [Hmmrm, Miyako-kun. In this world there are still many, many things I do not know about.] KP: This book also has spells. If you can pass an INT x 3 test, you'll be able to learn one. There are four spells written down in the work. You can try for each spell. Tatsumi: Hmm. That's fewer than I thought would be in the text. (rolls dice) I was able to learn the first and last one. KP: Okay ... (checks notes) You've learned Contact Cthonian and the Red Sign of Shudde M'ell. Tatsumi: I don't know either of those. KP: In the Cthulhu TRPG, casting spells often isn't very good for Investigators. Sasahara: Bleh, it's so hard to try to roll over an 89% skill to improve it! KP: Were you actually trying to do that? Sasahara: I thought I could do it if I rolled all four times. KP: I went to the trouble of telling you to bump up your (Climb) skill at the beginning. When you have trouble this game, don't complain to me. Sasahara: Okay. I'll use my last improvement roll to improve my (Climb) skill. (rolls dice) Okay, I bumped it up by 8 percentiles. With the skill at 48%, I'll have no trouble. KP: I wonder about that. (After seeing him waste three rolls, I'll be okay even if his Investigator is in a pinch. I've been more than generous.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Buying a Grimoire -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST: KP: Let's get this show on the road! You're in the midst of your summer vacation. Because school is on break, Sayaka-chan comes over to look after the store every day after lunch. Sayaka: So Randoru-ojisan still hasn't come back? KP: There's been no word from him. Your parents and the rest of your family don't seem too worried about it. They say it's perfectly normal for a wanderer like him. Sayaka: I'll try to make it okay for him to come back by looking after the store. Tatsumi: She'll be busy commuting to the store. Miyako: If you want to visit the place, I'll be glad to come along, Tatsumi-sensei. Sayaka: It's dull over here without Tatsumi-sensei and his maid visiting. Someone come over and buy something! =============== Keeper's Notes: House Rules for Skill Advancement =============== ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Compared to other RPG systems, in the Cthulhu TRPG system characters don't really become that powerful. Maybe I need to explain how characters advance in their skills. Not every character has all the skills necessary to succeed in a scenario, so I try to ensure that the party has a good mix of different skills. I also want them to have chances to use these skills and by doing so, improve them. As a house rule, I allow for study or training of skills in "down time" between scenarios. To put it in concrete terms, after a long break between scenarios the players get five chances to improve skills. Each skill can only be improved one time during this period, but a high skill can receive multiple chances to improve, should the player be willing to expend more than one. If you're a kindly Keeper, you might even drop some not-so-subtle hints as to what skills they might want to spend time practicing. Or not. Unfortunately not everyone is elegible for this. Investigators who are Indefinitely Insane will probably be busy going through therapy to help them become playable again. While they're in a facility, Investigators can not train skills, nor can they study grimoires. Keepers can read about how long recovery times will last and the quality of certain asylums on page 52 of Call of Cthulhu, 5th edition. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tatsumi: What are you complaining for? I bought that super-expensive cookbook from you. Sayaka: I haven't been able to sell anything since then! ( ;_;) Tatsumi: Is the management of this store all right? KP: There's no problem with the rent, but there are some problems with expenses: water, gas, and electricity. You need to get those paid for, and soon. Sayaka: I can't let this place go to pieces before Uncle comes back. I've got to hold it together. OST:  KP: By the way, this happens while you guys are together one summer afternoon. A postcard from Oemi Tomomi arrives in the mail. As you will remember, you became acquainted with her in the last scenario. The postcard is made from a picture of Tomomi playing in the water at the beach. Yuika-chan is in the photograph as well. The postcard says they are staying at a tourist home that's managed by Tomomi-san's grandparents. The tourist home is in Yamaguchi prefecture in the city of Nakato. Sayaka: That's awesome. I wish I could go. Sasahara: Wait, is this the setup you were talking about earlier? KP: (looks away, whistles innocently) Sasahara: I think I'd like to go play with Tomomi-san at that tourist house. Is that all right? Tatsumi: I'd like to go there as well. KP: Okay, we'll say you get over there. We open our next scene with Sasahara-kun scorching his body under the hot summer sunlight. Sasahara: I want to get a lot of awesome photos with Tomomi-san and Yuika-chan. Tatsumi: We've got to get over there and catch Sasahara-kun! Miyako: Yuika-chan is in danger! Sayaka: Then it's time for us to go on vacation! Close up the shop! Lower the security shutters! To Yamaguchi prefecture, ho! KP: Whoa, whoa, whoa! You're going too quickly. You should make preparations before you leave. Sashara: I can't believe this. It's like none of you trust me! KP: As I was saying, while the three of you are hashing out details, something unusual happens. The long-silent and dusty phone of R'lyeh Company rings. Sayaka: A customer!? I pick up the phone and answer in a sweet voice. [Hello, this is R'lyeh Company.] KP: The person at the other end seems to be a strange man. He begins a one-sided conversation. His voice is higher than yours - shrill, even. You try, but you can't seem to calm him down. After a while, you find that he seems to want to buy something. Sayaka: [What are you looking to buy, sir?] KP: (as nutty customer) [I heard you have a copy of Cultes Des Ghoules at your store! Send it over! I'm in a hurry!] His voice is full of mad excitement. Tatsumi: Cultes Des Ghoules is a Cthulhu Mythos grimoire. Do you have that at this store? Sayaka: Do I know anything about that? KP: Try an (Idea) roll. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made the check. KP: You remember seeing something like that among the things Randoru-san had been buying. It's an ugly old thing with a cover that's been dyed black by something. Jammed into it are many translation notes, written in English. Sayaka: [We have a copy here.] (to the Keeper) How much does that thing cost? KP: It's been hard for you to talk to him. You can try a (Psychiatry) roll. Tatsumi: Her customer's nuttier than a Cornetto? KP: Who knows? (evil smile) Sayaka: I'm not good at difficult things like that. (rolls dice) I failed my roll. [Tatsumi-sensei, would you take over? This man is strange.] Tatsumi: It's okay, I'll take care of the problem. I'll take the phone from her. [Hello there. How can I help you, sir?] KP: Okay! Tatsumi-sensei, you've heard this man's voice before. It sounds like the voice of Tsuruhashi Tomio, an artist who had visited you for counseling. Tatsumi: [Is that Tsuruhashi-kun? Do you remember me? It's Tatsumi!] KP: [Eh!? Sensei!? Why are you working at that antique shop?] Tatsumi: [Well, I'm not working there - I just help out. What I mean is-] Miyako: Cat got your tongue? KP: By the way, 10 years back this guy became well known for his art. He even appeared on a few television shows. But it seems that that kind of life wasn't good for him. He split with his art circles and began seeing you for counseling, as he had developed an acute neurosis. That was when he was in his thirties. Some time has passed since then. You think he'd be in his forties by now. Tatsumi: I doubt this book will be good for his mental health. Sayaka: Do you know what this means? Your treatment didn't work. It was a failure! Tatsumi: You disrespectful whelp! KP: Tatsumi-sensei, you can try your (Psychoanalysis) here. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) An easy win. KP: He's suffering from an obsession. After talking with him for a while, you manage to calm him down and get him to talk slowly and coherently. Tatsumi: Well, I suppose we could bring Cultes Des Ghoules to him and haggle over the price there. Where is he? KP: He lives in a city called Nagato in Yamaguchi prefecture. If you're coming with the group, he'll prepare a big welcome for everyone. Tatsumi: Yamaguchi prefecture! That's far away from here! Miyako: [Sensei, look at this!] (shows him the back of the postcard from before) OST:  Tatsumi: [Yes, I noticed that too. Now I'm worried about Sasahara-kun and I can't let Sayaka-chan do all the negotiation by herself. There's no choice! It's time for us to have a beach vacation in Yamaguchi prefecture!] Miyako: [Banzai! Banzai!] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Tsuruhashi's Bizarre Collection -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After covering part of the distance by bullet train and the remainder in a rented car, Sayaka-chan and her group arrived in the town of Nagato in Yamaguchi prefecture. Nagato town was in the northwest of Yamaguchi prefecture and faced the Sea of Japan. Tatsumi: On the train and in the car, I'll try to skim through Cultes Des Ghoules. KP: The book is written in French. Within it are details that have to do with necromancy, necrophagy, and a death cult in France. Sayaka: What a disgusting book. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Translator's Notes: About Cultes Des Ghoules -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Keeper's explanation only scratches the surface of this dread work. Written by the Comte D'Erlete, Francois Honore-Balfour, this dread book was published in France in 1703. It alleges the existence of necrophilia and necromancy among the populace of France around the turn of the 18th century. The author describes societies of grave robbers and despoilers and details their rites and practices. Necrophagy is one of the acts indulged in by members of this group in intiation ceremonies, and the members of the group re er to them as ''goules''. Some of the abhorrent acts engaged in by cult members include the resurrection of the dead - or at least reanimation- for purposes of divination and conjuration. The cult is thought to have gone underground after the publication of the book, and no concrete evidence of their existence has been found. Topics covered include witch covens of France and their ties to inhuman beings (ghouls) who live within catacombs underneath the city of Paris. Nyogtha is often mentioned, as is Shub-Niggurath, who the author believes is linked to werewolves and other lycanthropes. The book also contains prophecies which tell the future of the humanity and how the cult may figure in that future. Among the spells in the book is a way to contact their diety, the Charnel God known as Mordiggian. This book is very hard to find - only the original French edition of the book is known to exist and extant copies of it are rare in the extreme. Only 60 copies were actually printed of the 600 volume run. It is supposed that three copies were made for Balfour himself, bound in human skin, but this allegation was never proven. At least fourteen copies are known to exist. Although D'erlette's involvement with the ghoul cult was never proven, it is suspected he was a full-fledged member. After publication of the book, D'erlette went into seclusion and died in 1724 under mysterious circumstances. - Keeper's Compendium, page 17 - Realm of Shadows, pages 24-26 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Miyako: And Tatsumi-sensei is reading that awful thing in public on the bullet train! (lol) KP: The French-to-English translation notes stop at an odd point. As you've been handling the book for a while, you've noticed the odd stains on the cover of the volume. Make a (Medicine) roll. Tatsumi: I have an idea where this is going. (rolls dice). Made my test. KP: Those are bloodstains. Why did the translator stop halfway through the work? What kind of fate lay in wait for him? The gears of your imagination are working as you leaf through the gruesome and detestable Cultes Des Ghoules. You have lost 1D4 Sanity from your study of this ghastly work. Tatsumi: Ehch. It's like watching my finances dwindle in the recession. (rolls the die) Dang it! Another four points gone. I'm down to 65. Miyako: Are you all right, sensei? Tatsumi: I suppose reading this is going to make me feel carsick. Good thing I got a SAN boost before I started reading this. Sayaka: And your ex-patient wants a copy? I don't think it'll be good for his mental health. Tatsumi: I believe it could cause a total relapse. KP: (looking at notes) Okay, you guys finish your ride on the shinkansen and then get into the rented car you arranged for. It takes some time but you finally arrive in the town of Nagato. Mikayo: Now that we're on country roads I can show them my amazing driving techniques. [Shall we go to Sasahara-kun and Tomomi-san's vacation house first?] Tatsumi: [Yes, I'm more worried about that situation right now.] (lol) KP: The building that her grandparents are managing is a small tourist house that's open in the summer season. Both her grandfather and grandmother seem to be very good people, and they are treating Yuika-chan well. Yuika-chan appears to be having a lot of fun. Tatsumi: Might as well get the introductions out of the way. [Hello there. My group and I came all the way from Tokyo. We'll be in your care for two to three days.] KP: The grandmother's welcomes you with a wide smile, then her eyes alight on Miyako and she looks momentarily puzzled. [It's so hot outside. Why is that lady wearing that outfit?] Miyako: [I am Tatsumi-sensei's maid.] Tatsumi: [Don't say things that'll complicate the situation.] Miyako: [But it's the truth. I work as your maid.] Tatsumi: [She happens to be one of my students. Don't worry too much about it.] KP: (as the grandmother) [Oh, is that sort of look popular in Tokyo?] She asks that with an enigmatic look on her face. Miyako: [Yes! It's the most popular thing right now!] Sayaka: I feel like a singer who's not popular anymore. I'll change the topic. [How's Sasahara-kun? Is he doing a good job?] KP: Sasahara-kun . . . working? Sasahara: I am working on getting a deep tan. KP: (as the grandmother) [Yes, he's been helping out a lot at the vacation house. I'm glad Tomomi-san has found a good partner.] Again, all smiles. Sayaka: [Oh-ho-ho, the two have already reached that point.] Sasahara: [Nuuuoo! Don't tell them about that! ] KP: Tomomi-san's face turns red as she stammers, [ I - we haven't . . . ] Sayaka: This is preferable to him putting his hands on Yuika-chan, who is still in elementary school. Let's give Tomomi-san and Sasahara-kun our full support. (lol) Tatsumi: Thinking about the situation from a legal perspective, only Tomomi-san would be viable. Sasahara: You guys are too much. I definitely haven't picked either one of them yet. Yuika-chan is too cute for me to just throw away. Sayaka: This guy is awful! The worst! Sasahara: I came here to gather information for my next novel. Are there any historical sites nearby? KP: Right here. The soil this house was built on was the place where the defeated soldiers of the Heike legend were. Cool, huh? Sasahara: That reminds me. Here in Yamaguchi prefecture there was also the Battle of Dan-no-ura. Maybe I might write my next book about the Minamoto clan. Tatsumi: [By the way, we're here in town to pay a visit to a fellow named Tsuruhashi. ] In short, we wanted to stop by and see if Tomomi-san and her relatives knew anything about him. OST:  KP: You ask Tomomi-san's grandmother. She raises an eyebrow and says [Yes, we know him. He moved here about a year ago. But he's become a shut-in. People think he's very strange. None of us knew he used to be a famous person on television.] Sayaka: Shall we finish our job before relaxing here? KP: You guys arrived in the early afternoon. If you go now, you should be finished in time for dinner. Sasahara: I'll prepare a proper welcoming party for you guys. Enjoy it when you come back. Miyako: We need to flee this area. OST:  KP: (as Tomomi) [Your friends came all the way out here. Sasahara-kun, you should show them around the area. My family and I can prepare a welcoming party for them while you do that.] Sasahara: It looks like the Keeper wants me to go. I'm being railroaded. Sayaka: You haven't had much screen time. It's for your own good. Sasahara: Then I'll come along and graciously guide you. KP: His address is along the seaside, and is a single house in an area that was chosen for development. Something must have happened to the area - maybe the development project went bust, or there might have been a landslide or natural disaster. In any case, there's only one house left standing. His. Since all of you are in this area, I want you to try to make a POW x1 roll. (Everyone rolls dice) Sayaka: Only I made the check. KP: Sayaka-chan, you realize there must have been many accidents on the plot of land where you're standing. There is a place like a tunnel that may have caused them. You also get the sense of someone being carried to a hospital in the middle of the night. That's the kind of feeling you get from this place. The people who live here alone may not have sensed this, however. Sayaka: I'm starting to dislike this area. Let's get our work done and pull out of here. Tatsumi: I'm starting to worry even more about Tsuruhashi-kun. I'll ring the doorbell. OST:  KP: Okay, you do that, and then a man appears from inside the building. With an unkempt face bristling with whiskers and disheveled hair, and his skin is pale and rough-looking. His tired yellow eyes look at you with discernment and intelligence. A whiff of the air reveals that he stinks of sweat and oil paints. Until you saw him just now, you wouldn't have believed that he was the same man you counseled so long ago. Sayaka: I don't think he's going to calm down, so I'll leave negotiations to Tatsumi-sensei. KP: [It's been a while, Tatsumi-sensei. Please step inside, sir.] is what he says in welcome. His pupils are reacting to the light in a strange way and his voice does not sound normal. Sasahara: I don't want to go in. KP: A reasonable declaration, Sasahara. You can see behind him into the corridor past the genkan where shoes are taken off. The place looks rather dirty. Garbage has piled up, and the walls are festooned with pictures. The floor underneath his feet makes unsettling creaking noises, almost as if it is moaning. Sayaka: Wait, weren't we going to ask him to pay us for the rare book? Tatsumi: I don't know about that. KP: He guides you through a door into a combo dining room/kitchen that he has turned into an atelier. Many paintings are set up on stands, and the bed inside the room is covered in sketchbooks. The floor is littered with garbage - food wrappings and the like. Tatsumi: He's still hard at work painting . . . what kind of paintings has he put up? KP: They don't look like paintings he used to make. These new ones show horrible demons eating people, tearing them apart, and other scenes of misfortune. He has sensed that you brought Cultes Des Ghoules and he looks excited by the idea of getting it from you. Tatsumi: All of a sudden, I don't really want to sell it anymore. KP: Tsuruhashi has not read the mood. [I'm proud of my collection of works. You see, what I've painted here is mankind's true nature. Man tries to hide the darkness deep inside his heart, but Man has the same pure viciousness as the beasts. Here, in these paintings, the truth has been revealed!] He then breaks into chortles and giggles. As he continues his lecture, your uncomfortably gaze over his collection of paintings and works. (checks watch) Well, you've been looking at his repulsive, unwholesome artwork for long enough. SAN rolls all around! (Everyone rolls dice) Miyako: This guy gives me the creeps. (Miyako's dice stop moving) It looks like I was the only one to fail the check. KP: 'Kay. Those who made the check lose no SAN. For those who didn't, you suffer a loss of 1D4 SAN. Roll the die and mark 'em off. Miyako: (grumbles) 1D4 seems like an awful lot! (rolls die) Another point gone . . . I'm down to 24 Sanity points. KP: You've taken a long look at the work he's been explaining. As your attention is focused on the work, you become more and more worried. This thing is a monument to something that exists outside of your aesthetics or common sense. A realm with the stink of raw, spilled blood that grips your heart with terror. Miyako: That's impossible! There's only room in my heart for Tatsumi-sensei! (lol) Sayaka: I don't want to be in this creepy house anymore. Let's hurry and sell him that book and then go back to Tomomi's tourist house! Tatsumi: [Tsuruhashi-kun, as you requested I've brought you a copy of Cultes Des Ghoules. There is, of course, the matter of what you'll have to pay for it.] Wait, how much would this awful book sell for? Sayaka: 2,500,000 yen. (I'm absolutely sure.) Sasahara: That's expensive! Where would he produce that money from? Sayaka: It's extremely rare. I have to sell it for the price it's really worth. And Tatsumi-sensei has read it. He understands why it costs that much. Sasahara: Right, that filthy old bloodstained thing is gonna sell for 2,500,000 yen. What a rip-off. KP: After hearing your price, Tsuruhashi replies. [ I'll pay it. I'll pay it with this.] and he walks to the corner of the room and comes back with something inside a vinyl bag. Sayaka: Oh dear. What is this? KP: He upends the bag drops a large turquoise brooch on the table, along with a heavy ring. These are followed by a pendant. These rattle on the table surface as if they are toys. You guys can try (Evaluate Treasure) or (Bargain) rolls here. Miyako: (rolls dice) My (Evaluate Treasure) test was a success. KP: Ah, good. Well, Miyako looks them over and sees not only the value of the precious metals and gems in them, but also the workmanship used to make them, which is remarkable. As far as where these fit into the cultures of the East and West, you are having a hard time saying. It's hard for you to place them in a specific part of history, but from their design, you think they might go back to the time of the pyramids. In fact, these just might be funereal artifacts. Miyako: These are amazing! KP: I noticed that Sayaka-chan made her (Bargain) roll. You don't know about the craftsmanship of the items, nor their history, but judging from the gems and metals in them, you think they are worth quite a lot of money. Tatsumi: Where and how did he get these? Sayaka: [Thank you very much for your purchase today.] is what I say as I scoop up the treasures. Sasahara: She has no mercy! Sayaka: But I said I liked them. Didn't I say I liked things like these? KP: Tsuruhashi doesn't seem very interested in them. Sayaka: [Thanks again! Well, that takes care of that. Let's head on back.] Miyako: It seems that Sayaka-chan wants to go back. KP: You guys are packing everything up and getting ready to leave, but then Tsuruhashi says something to Tatsumi-sensei. [This is our first meeting in a long while, sensei. Shall we talk a little longer?] He says this while blocking the exit. Tatsumi: I'm not liking this situation. He sounds like a creep. Sasahara: It looks like the two of you have a lot to catch up on. Bye! Tatsumi: HEY! I'm not going to stay in here all alone! Let's go back together! KP: Tsuruhashi sees that you don't want to stay and listen. He begins to get very excited. [There's something I want sensei to understand. You need to understand the beauty and wonderfulness of my art! You must learn how it represents the world's truth!] Tatsumi: [Um, Tsuruhashi-kun, by telling me this you've communicated how you feel. I think it would be good for you to get outside this room for a while.] I say that in a calm tone of advice and try to sound like a concerned friend giving advice. KP: He quietly listens to you say those words. And then he flies into a sudden rage. [Y- you don't comprehend it! I thought you of all people would understand! None of you did! Not one of you! Nobody gets it!] Tatsumi: Trying to make my way quietly to the exit. Miyako: You probably can't make it over there (lol). KP: Tsuruhashi is distracted because he's trying to get you to understand his masterpiece. In it, beneath a cold, silver moon, men with the faces of dogs are unearthing graves and eating what they find buried there. Their purity comes from the fusion of beast and man. Humans can ascend to this glorious state. O, Pickman! Pickman, where art thou? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Genius Artist Pickman Hey there once again. My favorite illustrator is Kato Nobuyuki. Tsuruhashi's favorite artist, Richard Upton Pickman, appears in one of Lovecraft's stories, "Pickman's Model". He's most likely one of the most famous artists in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos. He painted from photographs of real monsters, and he took those photographs himself. He even turned into one of those things, and left Arkham, Massachusetts behind to go live in the Dreamlands. This game world is fascinating. There's so much variety and detail. Pickman's an NPC whose work you may come across, particularly in old, creepy mansions. He may not have any connection to the main story you're going through. His work is affecting but I don't recommend looking at it. It causes SAN loss. He has bad taste! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tatsumi: Pickman, eh? That name brings with it certain expectations. Wait, if he's one of Pickman's buddies, his name kanji probably are 吊端 (hanging someone by the neck at the end of the street), not 鶴橋 (crane bridge)! KP: . . . (⊙︿⊙✿) It's all right if I don't pay attention to that one. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Brooch of Atlach-Nacha -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After dealing with the lunatic Tsuruhashi's odd behavior, Sayaka-chan got a huge gem as payment for the Cthulhu Mythos text. They left the house and then saw someone with a camera with a telescopic lens to check out the house. That person was in a suspicious-looking car. It turned out to be the property of an reporter working for a weekly magazine, who was in the car and staking out the house. KP: Her name is Sashibe Kikie. She's in her thirties. She's wearing red-rimmed glasses. The way she's dressed in the photo reminds you of a sloppy disguise a child would wear to try to be sneaky. You can't really sense any malice from her; she's someone who writes gossip for a living. Miyako: Oh, I get it. One of those "Where are They Now?" type articles. KP: Pretty much. Tsuruhashi's sanity has visibly declined recently, and the magazine is probably wondering if he's using drugs. Miyako: The way he's acting, any ordinary person would think so. KP: Just a second. (rolls dice) She jumps when she recognizes one of you and then rushes out of the car towards your group. [It's Tatsumi-sensei, the famous professor of psychiatry! Why have you come to see Tsuruhashi?] Tatsumi: Ah, I was recognized. KP: This is a great scoop for her. An extremely famous psychiatrist seen in front of a a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere. Tatsumi: [He's an old acquaintance of mine.] I try to brush her off with that. KP: This is how she earns a living. She becomes even more insistent. [W-wait! How about we talk about this together over a meal?] She grabs your arm and looks at you pleadingly, with big, positive eyes. Miyako: That hussy! I'm getting seriously cheesed! [Please stop! He does not have any time for that!] is what I'll say. I then grab Tatsumi-sensei's other arm and pull him away from her. Sasahara: That Tatsumi! He's become a character in a love-comedy series. How nice. I'm jealous . . . (lol) KP: (Kikie) [I had noticed before . . . Sensei, what connection does this maid have to you?] Miyako: (very directly) [He is my master!] KP: (Kikie, writing stuff down) [ So the famous professor had these kinds of interests . . . ] Miyako: [Exactly! That's absolutely right.] Tatsumi: [No, don't listen to her! And please, don't write an article about it!] Sasahara: Actually, this isn't so bad. I wouldn't mind being treated to a meal. Tatsumi: And I'm kind of hungry too, but I bet that Tomomi-san and her folks have put together a lovely meal for us back at the tourist house. They're hard-working, country people. I don't want to skip out on the meal after they went to all the trouble of making it for us. Miyako: Then let's get back there and have the food. We leave behind that creepy, clingy woman. Tatsumi: Okay, with that we head on back. I'll try to politely refuse her invitation. [So much has happened today that I'm too tired. If you have more questions to ask, let's talk on a different day.] KP: She seems disappointed, but asks to exchange keitai numbers. Tatsumi: No getting around it. I guess we can do that much. =============== Keeper's Notes: =============== The group hurried back. As they had guessed, the owners of the vacation house had made a big feast for them using food found in the Yamaguchi-ken area, including fugu. KP: Unfortunately the fugu that was caught was out of season. Tatsumi: [We made the right decision by coming back. Fugu is my favorite.] Miyako: [Is that so? Well, I'm going to learn how to prepare it so I can make it for you when we go home!] Tatsumi: [You need to get a license to prepare that. You do understand that, don't you?] Miyako: [Don't worry. It'll be all right, somehow.] (lol) Tatsumi: I'm going to be very careful whenever she serves me any kind of white sashimi. Sayaka: We just accomplished a bit of work and it was surprisingly easy. We came all this way; I think we should play in the ocean for a while. Is there a good place to go swimming near here? KP: Yes, this is a tourist house near the ocean. Within walking distance from where you are is a large hill. Go over it and you'll find a nice place for swimming. Sayaka: . . . What's the name of the hill? KP: Oh, Heike Hill. Sayaka: Does that have a connection to the Heike group? KP: Hmm. It's near the beach and inside a forest of pine trees. It turns out that quite a few Heike people are buried there, and that's how the hill got its name. Sasahara: That's got me interested. I want to go with Sayaka-chan to the hill. Sayaka: [Okay, let's go swimming tomorrow! And we'll also split melons on the beach! Tatsumi: [Oh, that's right. Sayaka-chan, do you mind showing me the items you got as payment? I'd like to take a look at the workmanship of the gold.] Sayaka: [I don't have a problem, but why do you want to see them?] OST:  Tatsumi: [Because I'm worried about where Tsuruhashi got those. We also have to worry about that reporter.] Keeper, I also want to compare these objects to what I learned from the G'harne Fragments, which I just read. Is there a quiet place in the house where I can do some research? KP: Tatsumi, you can attempt an (Idea) roll. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) . . . made it. KP: You notice something among the many items she brought out. There's a brooch in the shape of a spider. Even though you just looked at it, you find yourself wanting it. It'd look okay on a man or a woman. Tatsumi: Hmm. I'll attach it to the shirt I'm wearing. KP: Your body feels full of spiritual power. In game terms, for as long as you are wearing that, you'll be treated as if your POW is 1 higher. Tatsumi: Oooh! What a wonderful artifact! [Sayaka-chan, will you let me hold on to this?] Sayaka: [Sure, that's fine. You're always looking after me.] Sasahara: I bet you want that. The Hound of Tindalos sucked away a lot of your POW. KP: By the way, I have a request to ask of Tatsumi, who just got equipped with this mysterious brooch. Make a Cthulhu Mythos roll for me, please. Tatsumi: Oh dear. What is it this time? C'mon guys, don't fail me now! (rolls dice) I passed the check. KP: The strange brooch is strongly connected to a spider-like Great Old One called Atlach-Nacha. According to history, the primitive tribes of the Andaman Islands worshipped It. There probably aren't any members of the cult left after all this time. However, the power in that object probably came from a ritual conducted by the cult. Tatsumi: Hmm, I'm starting to think that we shouldn't have gotten these valuable objects. I doubt they came from any place that was nice. Sayaka: What are you saying now? The job's done! Don't worry about it! Forget about it! Miyako: Well, so far any mysterious and/or tragic events haven't happened yet. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Summer, the Ocean, Splitting Watermelons, And . . . -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: Athough there were small things the group couldn't avoid worrying about, they finally did got to the ocean and went swimming. This happened close to noon. Yuika went along with Tomomi, and though he talked about the summer, Sasahara was more interested in enjoying youth than the beach. Sayaka-chan and Miyako brought a watermelon up with them to engage in the game of melon-splitting, which they seemed fixated upon. OST:  KP: Okay, I guess this'll be like a mini-game. Choose three skills you'll use to find and split the melon, and justify to me how they'll be useful. After that, you'll roll for each one in series. If you pass each test, you'll cleanly split the melon. Sayaka: Three skill tests to split the melon . . . which skills will I choose? Miyako: I'm up first. (Own Language [Japanese]) to judge distance using what other people around me are saying, (Sneak) to creep up on the melon, and (Small Club) to cleave it in two. I won't be using a bat to hit the melon either. Instead I'll use fry pan I carry with me all the time. Tatsumi: You're going to sneak up on the melon!? (lol) KP: It's fine. Perfectly cromulent. Roll for it. Miyako: After Tatsumi-sensei ties the blindfold on me, I'll go for it. I'll listen to his instructions with this first try. (rolls dice) A failure from the very start!? KP: Heavenly punishment is upon you. Miyako: With teary eyes, I ask Tatsumi-sensei if he really was guiding me in the direction of the watermelon. Tatsumi: Instead of trying to blame me for your own failure, you need to own up to your mistake! (lol) Sayaka: I'm up next. I'm going to use (Listen) to carefully process everybody's instructions, and then follow that with two paired skills: (Kick) and (Martial Arts)! With a lovely kick, I will split the melon! Sasahara: You're kicking it!? KP: Uh, okay. I guess. Roll for it. Sayaka: (rolls dice for all three tests) Got all three! Hiyaaaaa! KP: Okay then. Sayaka-chan delivers a powerful kick, cleanly splitting the melon in two. Sayaka: What'd you think of that!? Miyako: I guess that's how you broke the glass on that car . . . Sayaka: [Okay, the watermelon has been split! Let's eat it together!] I break the melon into pieces with my hands. Tatsumi: She's a reliable child. I think we can depend on her. Sasahara: [After we eat the watermelon, why don't we check out the grave of the Heike?] Tatsumi: [A walk along the seaside to aid our digestion could be good.] Note: Eventually the group found their way to the forest. They followed the curve and walked past the trunks of many pine trees. Many crinum lilies bloomed in the forest around the trees. The group realized that the forest seemed like a place that didn't attract many visitors; it was a lonely, desolate place. Finally, they reached a line of irregularly-shaped stone monuments. The wind and rain had eroded the surface of the stones, and it was hard to read the letters that had been carved upon them. They wondered if this had turned out to be a false lead. OST:  Sasahara: I wonder what kind of history this place had. KP: There's a story called Inujyoudo (犬浄土) [Dog Pure Land] that you've heard of. It seems that this story is like Omusubikororin (The Rolling Rice-cakes). It's a bit like that Rat Pure Land tale. --== Tale of the Dog Pure Land ==-- Many years ago, an old man was resting in a pine forest. He had dropped some dango onto the ground and was chasing after them. Unfortunately, he fell into a hole. He became lost as he wandered about in the tunnel he had fallen into. He eventually found many soldiers and samurai, who were holding a banquet. They saw the old man and invited him to join their party. The man even got some gold and silver coins. He thought the coins were for the monopoly held upon the area owned by the Minamoto family. The old man was very surprised! However, he realized something then. With a parched laugh, his hosts said they belonged to neither the Heike nor the Minamoto faction. One after another, the warrirors removed their helmets. When he saw their inhuman features, he rushed out of the hole as fast as he could. Sashara: Hmm, that's like the usual standard fairy tale. He starts to get greedy, but then gets punished for his greed. Sayaka: Wait a moment, please. I didn't hear about any dogs in the story. Tatsumi: That's right. Why is this called the Tale of the Dog Pure Land? Sasahara: [Tomomi-san, did you ever hear about the old man from this story?] KP: She leans closer to the sign and looks it over. [ Wow. When I was a little girl and first heard the story, I thought it was a lot scarier. How strange.] She tilts her head. Tatsumi: Meaning the story was changed? Miyako: Stories evolve in the telling, mutating into stranger and stranger forms. Sashara: [Maybe the original ending was too scary for the kiddies. Also, it's been around for a while - it even goes back to when Tomomi-san was a child.] KP: (as Tomomi) [How rude! I'm not that old! There's only two years' difference between us!] Miyako: Here comes the tsun! C'mon! Just a little more and all the dere will appear! Sasahara: Well yes, but Yuika-chan is here too. KP: Maybe I don't want to know the answer, but are you seriously, really going after Yuika-chan? As in for reals? Sasahara: There's only 10 years' difference between us. In 10 years from now, we'll have become the picture-perfect couple. On top of that, she's the heir apparent for a large fortune. Sayaka: Sasahara-san, you are the worst. Tatsumi: Now that I think about it, there are a lot of female characters in this game. KP: Not all of them are. We also have a withered old man. Tatsumi: What. I have a CON of 14. I'm still spry and full of energy. Miyako: That's right! Tatsumi-sensei hasn't dried up! Sasahara: There's even more of an age difference between you two. KP: He's got you there. OST:  Sasahara: Anyway, if we're done criticizing each other I think we ought to get back to business. Let's use our (History) skills to seriously investigate this area and find out if i really is linked to the Heike. I plan to reference this in my novel. (rolls dice) I passed the skill test. KP: Okay, you realize something as you reflect on your knowledge of the Heike survivors which scattered to the winds. The graveyard you visited today . . . might not have been a graveyard. It definitely was a series of old monuments though. Looking at it from that perspective, it's not impossible it was some set of grave markers. Sasahara: Then I'll mention it to Yuika-chan, who loves history so much. Wait, this story is too gloomy! I'll try to frame it using famous stories of the battlefield. KP: Then the phone rings. It's Tatsumi-sensei's cell phone. The caller ID informs you that it's Sashibe Kikie, that tabloid journalist. Tatsumi: [Moshi, moshi. This is Tatsumi.] KP: (As Sashibe) [Tatsumi-sensei, we talked about meeting up and talking the other night. Could you find the time for us to do that today?] Tatsumi: What an irritable person. It's a bother, but I'll arrange to meet up with her one time. Miyako: True. She could write an article that would make everyone think we're strange. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Disappearance of Yuika-chan -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: While Sasahara gathered materials for his research, Tatsumi-sensei explained why he did not administer medication for Tsuruhashi's mental illness. After being careful not to miss any details, Sasahara got tough on Tatsumi-sensei, attempting to use the (Persuade) to make the older man see reason. He was successful, but (Persuade) takes a while to do, and that coupled with the time needed for his research kept the group busy until the evening. Tatsumi: I think we wasted a lot of time. Miyako: I think we should get back to the vacation house and soak in the ofuro bath. We are on vacation; we ought to take it easy. Sayaka: We ought to play ping-pong while wearing yukata. Sasahara: Later on I want to ask Tomomi-neesan's grandmother about the Dog Pure Land story. I want to confirm if it has anything to do with those signs we saw earlier. Sayaka: Once I enter the bath, I'll ask that woman about the Dog Pure Land story. KP: She seems happy to tell you the story. She turns down the lights and stands to tell the frightening tale. Tatsumi: She's definitely ready to tell her. Sayaka: Yup, Summer's the best time for Kaidan. KP:(as the storyteller) [Well then everyone, I will tell the ancient tale of the Heike, whose land you visited this very day . . . Sayaka: I'm jotting down notes.
Painting with a branch of hashibami tree brings non-angled time. The beast from the past will lose Its ability to run and hide, and will have no choice but to return to the lens. The thing from ancient time has a body made of unclean and unwholesome material. Forget this not. Do not become overconfident when confronting this adversary. Doing so invites disaster.
Sayaka: Well, it was mostly the same story but some parts were much scarier. Sasahara: We clearly got to hear the creatures had the features of dogs and that they were eating human flesh. Tatsumi: Dogs that dine on human flesh? KP: Tatsumi-sensei, as that idea passes through your mind you flash back to what you read in Cultes Des Ghoules. You are certain that some of the demons mentioned in the book will match that description. Sasahara: The gems and other objects that Sayaka-chan accepted as payment were taken from graves, were they not? Sayaka: I don't want to hear terrible things like that! KP: The version of the story you heard before is probably the tamer version the locals don't mind sharing. It's like an 'edited for tv' film. Tatsumi: Telling the story this way makes it more acceptable. It's like what happened with the Grimm fairy tales. Miyako: Even so, I think we've seen too many suspicious hints popping up at the same time. I think we should expect some trouble. Sayaka: Why can't something good happen instead? OST: KP: Just then, when you are saying irresponsible, lazy things to avoid the truth, Tomomi walks into the room. [Is Yuika-chan here with all of you?] she asks. Sasahara: [Hold up, what are you talking about?] KP: (as Tomomi) [She went shopping at the general store, but hasn't come back yet.] Miyako: [That is worrisome. How long would it take for her to go shopping and come back?] KP: (as Tomomi) [She's been gone for over an hour. It shouldn't take her more than an hour to go there, buy something, and come back.] Miyako: [Do you think she stopped somewhere along the way?] KP: (as Tomomi) [No, we're out in the countryside. There'd be nowhere for her to stop.] Sasahara: [I'll go to that store and see if I can find her.] Tatsumi: [I'll go as well. When you're looking for a missing person, the more people in the search party, the better.] Sayaka: We can't go wearing yukata, so we'll get changed quickly. Miyako: I round up some electric flashlights for us to use. Sasahara: I'm not feeling great about this idea. What if she was attacked by a flesh-munching dog man? OST: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Ghouls Hello, everyone. This is Miyako, and my favorite zombie movie is 'Night of the Living Dead'. Flesh-eating demonic creatures have been called ghouls by many sources. As you have guessed, they are monsters that survive on carrion. They appear in tons of TRPG books and are a standard type of monster. I think all of you know of them. The characteristics of ghouls in the Cthulhu TRPG are a little different. Their faces look rather dog-like, and their feet may be hooved. They aren't undead, so you don't have to worry about magical infection from them as you would with vampires or zombies, but spending a long time in the world of ghouls does carry with it the risk of gradually turning into a ghoul. The ghouls we are going to come across are monsters who have crossed over to our world to find corpses to dine on, but some of the ghouls dwelling in the Dreamlands are quite loquacious and personable. We went on an adventure on the Dreamlands and had three ghouls accompany us on the journey. Their bodies and faces were awful to look at but they were very funny and entertaining. We had a good trip by working together. Unfortunately, many of the ghouls you'll encounter in scenarios are enemies that love to dine on human flesh. Don't count on being able to strike up a conversation with them. "[I]t is entirely possible that the investigators may be able to directly interact with ghouls. Such encounters may on occasion be non-confrontational . . . Though their ways are repulsive by most human standards, they are not necessarily inherently evil, at least not in the classic sense." - Realm of Shadows pages 10-11. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes:With the bright moon shining down on the road near the seaside, the team of Investigators headed towards the general goods store. When they talked with the manager of the store, he informed them that Yuika-chan had never made it to his business. When they doubled back to the tourist home to study the roads of the town from maps, they found Yuika-chan's sandals. The group knew this could not be a coincidence, so they informed Oemi-san, Yuika-chan's guardian, of what they found and immediately reported the incident to the police. Of course, it goes without saying that the Investigators were not content to just leave the matter to the police. After gathering more information and making many failed, futile attempts to locate the girl, the group wandered back over to the pine tree forest . . . OST:  KP: (checks notes) You guys should try to make a (Listen) test. Sayaka: Oh, what's this? (rolls dice) Made it. KP: From somewhere among the bushes surrounding you, you hear a strange groaning voice. It's neither a dog's nor a human's. Sayaka: [Yuika! Are you here? Call out to me!] is what I yell when I shine my flashlight in that direction. KP: Your light settles on the figure of a hostile-seeming man in a jumpsuit. Sayaka: [Wh- Who are you?] Tatsumi: By any chance, does this man resemble a canine in some way? Tatsumi: I'm getting a strong feeling of menace from him. He's possibly deranged. I want to try a (Psychoanalysis) test. KP: When you get closer to him, he suddenly attacks you with the rage of a beast! Tatsumi: [Whoa!] KP: He's using a (Fist) attack. (rolls dice) And the guy lands a solid hit. Mark off three Hit Points. Tatsumi: [Aaaack!] Miyako: [What are you doing to Tatsumi-sensei?] is what I yell when I move to attack this individual with my fry pan. Sayaka: I'm moving to hit him with a (Kick) attack! Sasahara: Sayaka-chan, if you (Kick) him really hard, he could die. KP: There is that possibility. Tatsumi: She's a terrifying high school student. Sayaka: I guess I can (Kick) him without also using my (Martial Arts) skill. That's all right, isn't it? Sasahara: He definitely might survive that. Sayaka: Here we go! [This isn't my Karate KICK!] Notes: Setting aside the fact that this person's Sanity had greatly degraded, this was in fact a normal human being. As Sayaka-chan's (Martial Arts) skill doubles the damage [before Damage Bonus is added in] for a barehanded attack, she showed mercy by not using (Martial Arts) when she attacked. Although she was the most battle-ready of all the Investigators, her enemy did not immediately collapse. Within a few hits, he lost a substantial amount of Hit Points. Tatsumi: Oh no! I don't want to die in a fistfight! Sayaka: One more time! [Karate-free low impact reduced calorie Kick!] And another hit! KP: (checks notes) That's enough. He collapses. Sayaka: Yes! (flexes) Tatsumi: [He's finally quieted down . . . ouch, that was a rough spot.] KP: You're getting knocked around like a punching bag. Tatsumi: Sorry, I'm not cut out to perform in action scenes. I leave that for other Investigators. Miyako: I am sorry none of my attacks connected. Tatsumi: That's all right. I think we can depend on Sayaka-chan's kick. Sayaka: Holding back was a pain! Next time I want to go all out! (lol) Tatsumi: Don't say horrifying things while smiling and laughing! Sasahara: Head in the game. Let's get some information that'll lead us to Yuika-chan. Tatsumi: After applying some (First Aid), I'll try to use my (Psychology) skill to calm him down and get him to talk. Can I roll once for both skills? KP: I guess that'll be okay this time. OST:  Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Got it. KP: The fellow seems to have regained consciousness. He doesn't seem as violently mad as he did before, but he is twitching and fidgeting with excitement. He speaks. [The fog poured out of the ground and then they appeared. They pulled something into the ground and began to devour it! The freaks with heads like dogs! They were eating ... eating ...] is what you hear from him. The rest of what he says is gibberish, neither Japanese or any other language. Sasahara: I want to ask one final question. [Where were the monsters?] KP: (as deranged man) [They came from Heike hill . . . from the graveyard!] He is overcome by the horrible memory and then dashes off at top speed. Miyako: Just as well. If he leaves, he won't panic and attack another person. KP: You guys calmed him down a little bit with (Psychotherapy), so there's not much chance of that. Sasahara: Let's get over to Heike hill posthaste. There might be a clue there we can use to find Yuika-chan. OST:  KP: As your group heads in the direction of Heike hill, you notice that a car has been driven into the forest. It looks like it has been abandoned. Sasahara: I quietly move closer to the car. I want to look inside it. KP: No one is inside. But you do see something on the front passenger's seat. There's a sandal. It is Yuika's size. Sashara: This car was used to bring Yuika-chan here! KP: That's about right. You also remember that this is a car you saw parked near Tsuruhashi's house. Sasahara: What is going on here? Why would that tabloid reporter kidnap Yuika-chan? I can't think of why she'd have any motive. Tatsumi: Looking at this from the perspective of a Cthulhu TRPG player, I think we all agree that the most suspicious person at this point is, without any doubt, Tsuruhashi. Let's not forget that we met Sashibe Kikie at his house. Sasahara: Do you think those two are in collusion? Miyako: I don't see that happening. Keeper, are there any other objects in the car? KP: You take a look at the car and in between the seats. There are traces of a liquid being spilled on the seats and then wiped away. Looking at how it dried, you think it's blood. You also traces of something else stuck to a seat. It's paint. Tatsumi: In short, we can conclude from this evidence that Tsuruhashi was the driver. Sasahara: I'm really worried about the blood! I think he brought Yuika-chan over to the beast-men of the Heike! We've got to get there before it's too late! OST:  KP: By the way, you realize now how quiet Heike hill is. No fog is pouring out of it like the man talked about though. How about you make an (Idea) roll? Sayaka + Tatsumi: (roll dice) (together) We both made the roll. KP: You both realize how strange this is. This place is ancient, but right now you think you hear something being quietly placed into one of the graves. Sayaka: Although I doubt I've ever heard something like that before. KP: On a side note, this same sound was made when R'lyeh Company's storehouse was being arranged. Sayaka: Oh, I get it. I tell the others that I hear something like the noise of something heavy being placed into a warehouse. Sasahara: I look around the area for signs of a struggle or anything unnatural. KP: Very well. Roll against your (Spot Hidden). Sasahara: (rolls dice) Passed the test. KP: In the clump of bushes over there is something that vaguely looks like a white daikon radish. Sasahara: I think we're about to have some bad times. KP: When you take a better look at it, you see that it isn't a daikon radish. Instead, it's a mutilated human leg, or part of one. You can see tooth marks on it where the soft, tender meet has been chewed. Everyone! Roll against your (Sanity) right now! Miyako: (rolls dice) I failed! Sayaka: (rolls dice) I didn't make it either! Tatsumi + Sasahara: (rolls dice) Got it. KP: Those who made their rolls lose no SAN. Those who did not now lose 1D3 Sanity points. Miyako: Oh no, not again. (rolls a die) I only lost one point. That's okay. Down to 23 points. Sayaka: (rolls a die) Ouch, another 2 points gone. I'm down to 70 points. OST:  KP: The two of you have a very different amount of Sanity. Sayaka has more than three times the Sanity of Miyako. It's like you came from different societies. (lol) Sasahara: Oh no, this isn't Yuika-chan's leg, is it!? KP: No, it isn't. It's way too long. You think it belonged to an adult woman. Sasahara: So it's Sashibe Kikie's, then? KP: You can't tell that just by looking (evilol). Tatsumi: I want to use my (Medicine) check to perform an autopsy using this piece of Kikie-san's body. I'm interested in learning the time of death, among other things. (rolls dice) Passed the test. KP: The leg was removed with a saw. But the bite marks look to be made by an animal's teeth. Maybe more than a few animals. But the positioning of them looks strange. The marks look like they were made by something with fangs, but the shape does remind you of a primate like a monkey. It has some similarities to bite marks from a human. Tatsumi: [We could say this looks to be the work of Ghouls.] KP: Very good! And because you have realized this dreadful fact, you get to roll against your Sanity right now! Tatsumi: [I have searched far and wide to reach a horrible conclusion . . . ] As I shudder with terror, I roll against my SAN. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: Good, but you lose 1 Sanity point anyway. Tatsumi: I've got 64 points left. It's all right. I can do this. Sasahara: Was she meant to be an offering to the ghouls? Tatsumi: Are there any other bodies? KP: Pieces of broken bones. Spots that look like splashed blood. But the biggest clue you've found so far is the leg. Tatsumi: So they sawed off the leg. Where did they take the other pieces of the body? Sasahara: Remember the 『 Dog Pure Land 』 ? There's supposed to be a secret entrance to an underground area beneath the graveyard. I bet if we search for it, we'll find it. I'm rolling against my (Spot Hidden). (rolls dice) And I made my test. KP: You don't find it. And this place is too out in the open for there to be a secret entrance. While it doesn't get much foot traffic, it's still not hidden enough from view. Sasahara: I thought as much. Where did those ghouls get to? OST:  Tatsumi: The 『 Dog Pure Land 』 told us. On a night with a bright moon, in front of the Heike graveyard, the fog will rise as the way opens. Sasahara: I don't want to wait here. We should be looking for Yuika-chan, not standing around waiting for fog. Tatsumi: It's far away from here, but we might also want to look around Tsuruhashi's house. Miyako: We might be able to have a look around Tsuruhashi's house without being caught if we go now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: A Scream of Terror! Tsuruhashi's house, in Blood -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: You soon arrive at his dilapidated house at the development area. Except for the faint calling of summer birds, everything around you is quiet. Sasahara: Has the front door been locked? KP: Of course! Tatsumi: I want to call Sashibe Kikie on her cell phone. KP: You're on top of things today. You hear a cell phone ringing from an unlikely place - inside the house. Tatsumi: It's in there! Sasahara: We need to thoroughly search the house for her. KP: You notice, as you walk around the house, that someone carelessly left the ofuro room window open. It's narrow, but someone might be able to fit through it. Sayaka: Do you mean us? Sasahara: It'd have to someone with a lower SIZ than Miyako (lol). Miyako: I'm going to let that one slide because I'm trying not to lose all my SAN. (lol) KP: (checking something) Hmm, Sayaka-chan is small enough - with her SIZ she could squeeze in through the window. You guys push her through it and, she lands in the bath. It makes quite a bit of noise, and her feet are now sopping wet. Worse still, whatever the bathtub's filled with has a nauseating stink. Sayaka: Hoeeeh!? KP: You use your flashlight to look around the area through the window. The bathroom is stained with blood. A saw and a Japanese cooking knife are lying on the floor, both of which are caked with dried, unappetizing dark fluids. It's hard for you to move around on the floor because of the tangle of intenstines lying on it. As you try to find a good place for your feet among the soft unmentionable things lying on the floor, you need to roll against your SAN roll right now! Sayaka: Aaaah! (rolls dice) I made it. KP: You still lose 1D4 SAN. Sayaka: (rolls die) Ouch, that's three points gone! This is awful, just awful! OST:  Tatsumi: We now know that Tsuruhashi-kun's totally off his rocker. We shouldn't feel bad about stealthily looking around in his house. Sayaka: I go out of the room, cross to the genkan, and unlock the front door. Miyako: Has he become a ghoul? You don't know if someone else is in the house, and you want to track those filthy footprints to the front door? Tatsumi: I think there's safety in numbers. We ought to go in too. Miyako: If Tatsumi-sensei says we go in there, I'll go in too (tearful smile). Tatsumi: (his player looks at Miyako's SAN score) Well, maybe we shouldn't do that. I feel bad for Sayaka-chan, but it might not be safe for us. Sayaka: Then I crawl outside through the window, looking like the victim in a violent murder, dripping with gore. [So cruel ... This is too much!] Sasahara: It's rare to see the heroine character tangled up in intestines. KP: This is a splatter scenario! That's the theme of the game! (lol) Sayaka: No more. I want to go home. Tatsumi: [Don't fret. After we call the police, we'll have them search the house for us. Let's make it a little easier for them by knocking the door down! Sayaka-chan, if you please!] Sayaka: [H-Hai!] KP: After repeated karate kicks from Sayaka-chan, the door splinters and breaks into pieces. Sasahara: I squeeze past the ruined door and go inside. We weren't quiet when we broke down the door. Anyone inside will have heard it, so I'll go ahead and turn on the light. OST: Tatsumi: Oh, we'll be momentarily dazzled by the sudden shift from dark to light. KP: Good point. Your flashlights click on and you survey the hallway, only to find a horribly awful scene in front of your eyes. Bloodstains cover the walls and the bed, and bloody footprints and stained drafts can be found scattered about. It is as if an elegant but fierce tragedy unfolded before your eyes. Sasahara: We have to find Yuika-chan now! KP: This isn't a big house, so it's easy for you to check each room in turn. Yuika-chan isn't in any of the rooms. There isn't any trace of Sashibe Kikie either. Tatsumi: I'll try to call Kikie-san's cell phone again. SFX:  KP: You hear a cell phone ringtone. It is coming from the direction of the kitchen. Tatsumi: I - I think we have to check that out (nervously gulps). KP: Several large bags of garbage have been left in front of an old, dirty-looking refrigerator. The ringing sound is coming from one of the bags. Tatsumi: I slowly open the bag the cell phone is in. KP: Sashibe Kikie's handbag has been stuffed inside the garbage bag. The ringing sound is coming from the handbag, so the cell phone must be inside it. Tatsumi: Maybe something else is in there. What about her digital camera or her voice recorder? KP: As you take the handbag out, the bag stretches wide to reveal its contents. At the bottom, still frozen in its cry of pure terror, is the body of Sashibe Kikie, stiff with rigor mortis! Tatsumi: AAAaaaaah! KP: That's only the upper part of her body. Some of her ribs look like they have been sawn through. She's also been spread open to allow others access to her delicious organs. Her skull has been cut open and her brain has been torn out. I want you to make a Sanity roll. Tatsumi: This could be bad. (rolls dice) ! I didn't make the check. KP: Under ordinary circumstances I'd charge 1D4 Sanity points for looking at this, but she was a person you knew. So add another Sanity point on top of that. Roll and mark off 1D4+1 SAN. Tatsumi: (rolls a die) I just lost 4 points, which brings me down to 60. [I only just met her at noon today. I should have told her to stop following this story . . . ] Miyako: [Tatsumi-sensei, what's come over you!?] Tatsumi: [I- I found Sashibe's body. It's better if you don't look at it. This is too horrible. He must have used the bathtub to hold her when he was cutting her apart.] Miyako: So she came to report on what he was doing and then ended up being killed by Tsuruhashi? Sayaka: To come up here alone with no backup . . . KP: Looking at this, you don't think this was a kill done on impulse. Tsuruhashi used to be a cultured, thinking man. Sasahara: Well then, after considering what Tatsumi-sensei said about looking at it, I decide to search his atelier. OST: KP: On top of his desk is the grotesque and dire book he bought from Sayaka-chan, the accursed and banned Cultes Des Ghoules. Next to it is a notebook along with an old book you haven't seen before. This other book is also probably written in French. You can see this other book has been damaged deliberately, and it looks like much of the first half of it was burned. Sasahara: I want to see how far he was in finishing his study of Cultes Des Ghoules. KP: Why don't you try a (Spot Hidden) test? Sasahara: Sayaka-chan, this is your forte. Sayaka: I help him. (rolls dice) Passed the test. What do I find? KP: Many of the tools used for his art have pages stuck to them. Sasahara: [Tatsumi-sensei! We need you to read this page!] Tatsumi: [I'm on my way over there right now. Wait a moment!] Miyako: He must have sensed that Yuika-chan is in danger right now. Sayaka: Then how do you feel about Tomomi-san? Sasahara: They're equally important to me! KP: Heads in the game, please. Okay, to understand the page you've found, you'll need to pass an (Other Language: English) test after studying the text for 10 minutes. Roll those bones. Tatsumi: We don't have a lot of time. I'll work on investigating this. Everyone else, fan out and look for other clues. Sayaka: There were several other pictures in his atelier. Were any of those particuarly worrisome? KP: Hmm. Well, when he was first giving you the tour there was something. It was a painting featuring a particular grave. In fact, you think you've seen this particular grave back on Heike Hill. 'When the bright moon shines and the fog rises . . . ' which describe the conditions tonight. You might be able to find it again if you run back over there. OST:  Sayaka: Tsuruhashi loves these paintings, but was he trying to reproduce the work of another artist? Miyako: He might have been trying to reverse engineer Pickman's model. KP: Okay, Tatsumi can roll against his (Other Language: English) skill. Tatsumi: I mustn't fail here. (rolls dice) I made it! KP: Part of this is from the text before, but the descriptions were so absurd you paid it no mind. To contact one of the man-beasts, go to an ancient gravesite under a bright moon and make the offering of raw flesh. (Translator's note: it's part of the Contact Ghoul spell.) Tatsumi: The graveyard on Heike hill would work. It's ancient. KP: But wait, there's more! [Should the graveyard link to the world of ghouls, they'll appear in the fog under the light of the moon. The path to their world will be opened.] This isn't difficult. You know that ghoul tunnels are extensive, and it turns out there's a nest of them at Heike hill, according to the notes you have. Sasahara: So he intended to give Sashibe Kikie to them as an offering? Sayaka: Who could do such a thing!? Tatsumi: Indeed, as an Investigator and as a human being, this is too far. He's crossed the line. Sayaka: If he has brought forth the ghouls, what do we do? Sasahara: He probably will join the ghouls for their feast in the 『 Dog Pure Land 』 . Tatsumi: Would he be so craven as to go that far? KP: Hmm, I wonder ~♪! Sasahara: If he has Yuika-chan confined somewhere, it'll be near there. It has to be. Sayaka: But if he did intend to use Sashibe-san as an offering, how would he get the body over there? Tatsumi: One last thing - did he make any additional notes in Cultes Des Ghoules? Anything underlined, hilighted, or a random post-it note stuck in there somewhere? Notes: The group agreed that going to the 『 Dog Pure Land 』 would require them to infiltrate ghoul tunnels. The group rushed through the grasses to what they thought was the general area of the entrance, but they worried about how to open the gate. Needless to say, casting Contact Ghoul was out of the question, as their morals would not allow them to take a piece of a dead human (or ghoul) as an offering, much less someone they knew personally. As a Keeper, I was fine with the idea, but after seeing how much they were against it, I regretted putting them in this position. Wait a minute! Am I, the Storyteller, losing my morals as a human? I'd better watch out. I don't want to become a ghoul(lol). Translator's notes: Realm of Shadows makes it quite plain - ghouls are not inherently evil, but they are secretive, and they are very protective of their secret existence. They will not greet intruders warmly. Sasahara: No, we're not using a human being or a part of one. But if we have to offer raw meat, couldn't we get the flesh from a cow or a pig? Miyako: Say, in a previous scenario set in the Dreamlands, our ghoul traveling companions were chowing down on a zebra. I guess it depends on what they want to dine on. The only meat with a 100% chance of being accepted is human. Sayaka: Maybe we can ask Tomomi-san and the tourist house to let us use their larder. Miyako: Sayaka-chan, what are we going to say when we get over there? 'Hey, we decided to stop looking for that missing little girl for a while. Can we have some cuts of meat?' No, if we have to get those I'm going to use my stealthy maid thief skills. Tatsumi: She could do it. Her (Sneak) and (Hide) skills are really good. Miyako: Yes, I developed those skills back when I was stalking Tatsumi-sensei. Tatsumi: Don't say something really scary while smiling. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Beyond the Blue Fog -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: Miyako made good use of her stealthy skills, and brought back a large supply of meat for the other Investigators to use. The moon was settling into the right place in the sky, so the Investigators hurried over to the graveyard. One after another, they laid out the pieces of meat so as to attract the attention of the ghouls. Even though this is my own scenario, I could not have predicted this strange scene would appear. Miyako: That's the last of it. The only thing now is for us to wait until those ghouls show up. I wonder if they really will appear? Tatsumi: I wish you wouldn't say that after everything we've done. We're down to our last lead, and you're making me really nervous by saying that. OST:  KP: Oh, you guys are on the right track. After waiting for a while, slowly but surely the environment surrounding you changes. Out from the ground seeps a bluish fog, and the cover on top of the monument rattles as it opens. Sayaka: I'm worried about what will happen once the fog gets thick. I take a minute to memorize my surroundings. KP: Oh, nice. Make an (Idea) roll. Sayaka: Idea is one of my better derived attributes. (rolls dice) I passed the test. KP: Sayaka-chan took the time to memorize the layout of the graveyard. As the fog continues to pour forth, it becomes denser. Now none of you could even count the various grave markers here. Sayaka: Oh, I'll count how many there are from my memory later. KP: No chance of that. The scenery changes again, and the number of graves increases. One very large and different grave marker has suddenly appeared. It is designed like a Celtic cross, and the shape of it reminds you of an obelisk. It's narrow and is well over two meters tall. The surface of it is covered in thick moss. Around it, other gigantic graves begin to appear. You've seen this kind of imagery before, in Tsuruhashi's paintings. Are they coming to life before your eyes? Miyako: It seems like we guessed right. KP: You hear noises coming from beneath the large graves. The cover plates over the graves begin to slide out of place. As one of them slides out of the way, you see that an underground stairway made out of stone has been revealed. You also hear harsh, high-pitched voices from the four humanoid, but definitely not human, beastly figures that clamber out of the open graves. Tatsumi: [Kiitaaaaaaa!] Sasahara: [I - I didn't think they'd come here. The world is full of so many dark mysteries.] KP: Although their faces have a canine cast, their bodies are unmistakably human-seeming. Their feet look different - as if they have hooved feet. The way the move and walk seems strange to you, and you hear their distorted voices as they have a conversation in a language you don't speak. After that, as if you're looking at one of Tsuruhashi's grotesque paintings, these beings move to the scattered bits of meat and begin to greedily dine on them, tearing flesh and crunching through bone. Once that's gone, they bring out scraps of carrion and go on to eat that as well. Needless to say, this is very scary! Roll against your Sanity! You'll lose 1 point if you make your roll, and 1D6 if you don't. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Ah, rats. I failed! (rolls a die) That's another four points gone. I'm down to 56 points. This time around the scenario is really draining our Sanity reserves! Sayaka: (rolls dice) Oh dear. (rolls a die) I just lost 2 points. I have 65 points remaining. Miyako: Dice don't fail me now! (rolls) Yes! I made it. I only lose one point. I still have 22 in the bank. Sasahara: (rolls dice) Okay, I passed my Sanity test too. I only lose one point, which means I've got 59 points left. KP: Oh phooey. All of you made your Sanity checks. I was hoping one of you would lose five or more points, panic, freak out, and alert the ghouls. That would have been very interesting for me (evillol). Sasahara: We try to keep quiet so as not to tip off the ghouls. We should probably also stay out of sight. KP: Oh, is that right? I think if you want to enter their ghoul tunnels, now'd be the time. Miyako: How would we go into the tunnels without the ghouls catching on to what we want to do? KP: Moving to the tunnel will require a (Sneak) roll. You can hide from sight along the way by using your (Hide) skill behind a tombstone. Sasahara: Will we get a bonus to getting past them because they're distracted by their terrible feast? Miyako: That seems right. They'd be distracted by the delicious taste of all the tasty meat I stole! KP: Very well. If you raise that much of a fuss over it, you can avoid detection and make it to the tunnel by making both a (Sneak) and a (Hide) test. You also will get to roll twice for each skill test, keeping the roll you want. Tatsumi: Even with that generosity, it's going to be hard to pass that test. Sasahara: Why don't we have our ninja maid Miyako, whose (Hide) and (Sneak) skills are so great, explore the cavern for us? Miyako: Absolutely not! I have to be careful with my remaining Sanity points. Tatsumi: Nothing to be done about it. Okay, be ready to deal with whatever comes next. Let's go. KP: Roll those bones, people. Miyako x Sayaka: (rolls dice) We made it. Sasahara x Tatsumi: (rolls dice) We both failed. KP: Okay, two out of four people failed. Let's see how aware of their surroundings the ghouls are. Their lookout gets one (Spot Hidden) for each person who failed. (rolls dice) Okay! The ghouls stop eating and drop the meat. They are looking in the direction the noise came from. OST:  Sasahara: Don't worry, this will be okay. They only eat dead flesh. KP: Every living creature is dead flesh after it's been killed! ~☆ Tatsumi: Nothing to be done! [Everyone, run for it! !] And then I start running towards the stairs leading to the underground. OST:  Sasahara: [Roger that!] Miyako: [Wait up! I said I'd go with you!] Sayaka: [Do you think there's a way out of there?] Sasahara: [We'll worry about that later!] Tatsumi: [Don't talk! Run for your life!] Notes: After a harrowing pursuit, the Investigators managed to reach the bottom of the stairs. They were also able to shake off the ghouls. However, as they looked around they realized that they were no longer in the bayside town. In front of them outstretched a fantastically large cave tunnel. OST:  KP: This appears to be a large limestone cave. Part of the tunnel was carved by water, the other half looks to be the work of humans. The ceiling of the cave is about five to six meters above you. It's about as wide as two large cars set side by side, so it's quite a large cave. Countless leading away from this one are also in sight. It's like you're in an underground labyrinth! Sasahara: Wow! Even though this is the Cthulhu TRPG, we somehow ended up exploring a dungeon. KP: Boys and girls, men and women, make an (Idea) roll for me. Tatsumi x Sayaka: (roll dice) We made it. KP: This isn't the first time you've seen this cave. Sayaka: What do you mean? KP: It feels like you saw this in a dream where you were chased into this cave by monsters. Or was it there? You are experiencing a moment of powerful deja vu. Tatsumi: In a dream, you say? Sasahara: Yes, well I'm not expereincing that, so I'll be using my flashlight to sweep across the area and look for clues. KP: Where the stone staircase ends, you notice an area that looks like it's been subject to intense weathering. Among the piles of dirt there is some armor and inside that, human bones. Try to pass a (History) skill test. Sasahara: (rolls dice) I made it. KP: Judging from the patterns on the armor, it was made in the beginning of the Kamakura period. If that's right, maybe the bones are of slain Heike soldiers. Sasahara: This is an amazing discovery. I pick up the armor and take it with me. KP: The armor crumbles into dust when you pick it up. Sasahara: What a waste. Tatsumi: (snaps fingers) This is the Dog Pure Land. I guess that means what we heard about this place was the truth! Nanmaida, nanmaida. Translator's note: Tatsumi is saying the shortened form of namu Amida butsu, which is a common chant in Pure Land Buddhism to the Buddha Amida. KP: This cave seems to be full of strange things as well. There are large, luminous mushrooms that are providing light inside the cave. Things like monkeys, but with a large, lens-like eye are eating the mushrooms. These creatures are about as big as cats. Sayaka: Maybe they're cute. KP: When they see you, they scream in terror and hatred. The light in the cave fades away into darkness. Sayaka: Not so cute after all (sweatdrops). Tatsumi: Oh snap - these tunnels may physically link up with The Dreamlands! Miyako: I'm getting that feel too. Sasahara: It'd be foolish to blunder around in the dark. If there are footprints or hoofprints in the cave, I want to use my (Track) skill to follow them. (rolls dice) And I made it. KP: Fine. You see hoofed footprints leading up to the stairs. There are also footprints that look like they were made by a human wearing a shoe. Those look fresher. You might be able to follow the person who made those. Sashara: Good! Are these Yuika-chan's footprints? KP: There are some footprints that look like they could have been made by a child. Next to those are footprints that an adult could have made. Sasahara: How could that villain have kidnapped sweet little Yuika-chan!? I will not allow Tsuruhashi to get away with this! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Chasm of the Equinox -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: Extremely worried for Yuika-chan's safety, Sasahara and the others began to search in earnest, and like pursuing bloodhounds, they continued their chase. Miyako: Our Stalker Reserve Army is useful in times like this. Sasahara: Miyako-san, I don't want to be called a stalker by you. KP: (checking notes) Okay, you guys are making your way to the back of the cave. Try a (Listen) check for me if you please. Sayaka: Oooh, that's my forte. Leave it to me. Sasahara: (rolls dice) I made it! [Yuika-chan, where are you!?] (violently snorting) Sayaka: Sasahara-san's off the chain. KP: You think you hear a person weeping. From the sound, it's a small girl. Sasahara: [Yuika-chan! Tell me where you are!] Tatsumi: Watch it. I sense that we're being led into a trap. Miyako: This is probably the Dreamlands. A Banshee could be making that noise. Sasahara: You gutless cowards! I'll go and check it out even if I have to go alone! Tatsumi: Enough, we get it. We go together. KP: Your group has arrived in a huge part of the cavern, one so big that you are dumbfounded. The footprints lead up to the edge of a precipice. You try to use your flashlights to see the bottom, but the light won't reach it. Nor can it seem to shine on the ceiling over there. The area is blanketed in perfect darkness. Sasahara: Is this a dead end? KP: No, rather than that . . . well, why don't you make an (Idea) roll? Tatsumi: This is one of those situations where we're probably better off not knowing the truth. (rolls dice) But we had to know. I made the roll. OST:  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): The Dreamlands Miyako reporting in once again. My favorite color is dark brown. Atlhough we write the Dreamlands in Japanese as 幻夢境, we read it as 'Dreamland'. As the name suggests, it's a world of dreams. It turns out that when we dream, our spirits go to another world - the land of dreams. It looks like this time we'll be going to the Dreamlands directly and relying on the hospitality of our friends there. It's kind of deep when you think about how you have two existences on different worlds, isn't it? It's hard to remember ones' adventures in the Dreamlands upon waking, but there are some accomplished dreamers who are quite talented. These people might be called 'Dreamers' and are respected for their knowledge. Our antique shops' owner, Kataa Randoru, is based on Randolph Carter, who is one of the best 'Dreamers' in known history - he had many epic adventures. Although most 'Dreamers' get to the Dreamlands by going to sleep, it is possible to directly go there. For example, in this adventure we found a Ghoul tunnel complex that physically links up with them. Thanks to these tunnel complexes, Ghouls can directly travel from our world over to the Dreamlands and back. The Dreamlands are well described in Lovecraft's stories and in Enterbrain's own game mook. Plug, plug! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka x Sasahara: (roll dice) We both made the roll. Miyako: (rolls dice) Yippee! Since I'm dumb I don't understand it. It's just a dead end! No doubt about it! (lols) OST:  KP: The people who made their rolls understand the situation by instinct. At the bottom, beneath all that darkness, is something. Looking over the edge of the cliff reminds you of legends of the world of the dead. On the autumnal equinox, this gulf exists between our world and the other one. Miyako: What a development. KP: The people who succeeded in their (Idea) rolls now must roll against their (Sanity)! Sayaka x Tatsumi x Sasahara: (roll dice) We all made our rolls! KP: Tsch! Well, you each lose one point anyway. Miyako: We're people of tender sensibilities. KP: And in the darkness, swaying and bobbing gently, is a silver bridge. You don't know how far it goes. It's beautiful to look at. Sasahara: And beyond where this bridge leads . . . is Sayaka-chan? KP: No, you hear the crying coming from the bottom of the cliff. Sasahara: I try to see the bottom. KP: Five meters down from the edge is a large bit of rock that juts out from the side of the hole. On that is a young girl who looks like Sayaka. She's stark naked. She has covered both of her ears and is crying. Sasahara: That monster! Does she look like she's hurt? KP: Not that you can see. OST:  Sayaka: I think this is when you're going to need the (Climb) skill which our Keeper warned about. Tatsumi: (to the Keeper) Remember, I told you I was going to buy some rope at that shop earlier. I take out the rope I got. (to Sasahara) Use this. And do we have anything here to tie the other end of the rope to? KP: There's a large rock here. It seems heavy enough. You could attach one end of the rope to it. Two people could then descend via the rope. Tatsumi: I feel a little anxious. I'm going to remain up here to assist if something goes wrong. Miyako: I'll say up here with him. Sayaka: I want to examine the area to make sure it's safe. I'm using my (Spot Hidden) and (Listen) skills, which I have pride in. KP: You may use the rope to descend. On the way down you can make a (Spot Hidden) attempt at double your normal chance. Sasahara: With that x2 multiplier my chance is 96%. I'll go. (rolls dice) Made it with plenty to spare. KP: You've found what you believe would be a good place to put your feet. And while you look at it, you realize that you've seen this cliff in one of Tsuruhashi's demented paintings. It has the same feel as it did when you saw it in the painting. Although you don't see any ghoulish monsters on it right now, it feels strange to be in one of the places depicted in his art. You have also realized that Tsuruhashi's art, while having qualities of expressionism, was in fact very realistic. He's a very talented artist. Tsuruhashi: I've seen his style and I'm vaguely aware of Pickman, who clearly has been a big influence on Tsuruhashi's work. However, at this moment I'm putting my focus on rescuing Yuika-chan. KP: As you get closer, you notice things in front of Yuika-chan, who is crouching down and covering her ears. These things are a brain, a heart, a liver, and various other parts taken out of a human being. They have been carefully arranged on a silver plate. These are things that were meant for her to eat. It's like the appetizer sampler plate you see in American diners. Closer still, you see stains of blood around Yuika-chan's mouth. Sasahara: No! Oh, I hope she isn't turning into a Ghoul. I call out to her. [Yuika! Yuika-chan! Are you all right?] KP: She looks straight up and sees you. Tears well up in her eyes and begin to flow out. [I was scared! I was so scared! A weird man took me and made me eat this strange meat.] Miyako: Raw human flesh. Sasahara: These are parts from Sashibe Kikie. He tried to make Yuika-chan eat them. This guy's completely insane. KP: By the way, you made your (Spot Hidden) checks before, and you've seen this horrible stuff. Make a (Sanity) roll already. Sasahara: Nothing will scare me. I'm going to rescue Yuika-chan and get her out of here. (rolls dice) Made my roll. KP: Look at you, hanging tough. You made the check, so you lose no points of Sanity. Tatsumi: (calling down from above) [Hey! Are you all right down there?] Sasahara: [She doesn't seem to be injured!] KP: Sayaka-chan, you were using your senses to keep watch over the area. Make a (Listen) roll. Sayaka: No problem, my (Listen) skill is 75%. (rolls dice) Oh snap, I failed! KP: That's not good. That was a very important test. I rule that you were paying too much attention to Yuika-chan and Sasahara. Something else has gotten much, much closer to you without you realizing it. Sayaka: [Hoeeeeh!] KP: With the sound of clanking metal, two things come out of the hole in the cave behind the three of you. You can see their forms. They look like three samurai in full sets of yoroi plate armor. Sayaka: [Who are these people!?] KP: They wouldn't be out of place in one of Tsuruhashi's paintings. They come closer to Sasahara and Yuika-chan, with throaty, unwholesome laughs. One person is creeping up behind them, with the same sneering, mad look you've seen before - it's Tsuruhashi. Sayaka: [Tsuruhashi-san, we know you killed Kikie! What are you trying to do!?] KP: (as Tsuruhashi) [It was a noble test of the spirit.] Sayaka: [You killed for a test!?] KP: (as Tsuruhashi) [To get my freedom and lose my filthy humanity. This is a transitory courtesy, you see. Fill the lands with the sacred fog! Fill the stomach with human flesh! After that, you will transcend humanity! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!] Sayaka: [And to do that, you killed and butchered Kikie-san and tormented this innocent child!] KP: [You're upset over that? This is how I established a link to Pickman's legacy!] Sayaka: It's no good. I can't understand how he thinks. Miyako: He's been trying hard to change into a Ghoul . . . KP: The samurai take off their helmets. Tatsumi: No - this can not be! Miyako: You don't have to take them off! They look really cool! You're fine that way! Sayaka: Maybe they don't look scary under those things after all. KP: As if! No, beneath those ancient helmets were heads that had lost all trace of humanity many years ago! With snarling faces, you see sharp teeth protrude from the mouths on their dog-like faces, as they have become Ghouls! All of you roll against your Sanity right now! If you make your roll, you will lose 0 SAN. If you fail, you will lose 1D6 SAN! Sasahara: Since they're dealing with Sayaka-chan and her group, maybe they haven't sensed us hiding on the lower cliff. KP: Fair enough, I rule that the Ghouls and Tsuruhashi haven't found you yet. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made the test. I'm not afraid. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Ouch! (rolls a die) I just lost 2 points. I've been losing a lot. Miyako: (rolls dice) Oh no. Not good, I failed. (rolls a die) I just lost 3 more points. I only have 19 points of SAN left. Sayaka: Are you still okay? You've lost a lot of SAN. Miyako: If I lose another point, I'll fall into Indefinite Insanity! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! (yandere lol) KP: You still are clinging to sanity by a thread. That in itself is an amazing jinx. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: A Battle Laced with the Taste of Despair -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  Notes: And with that, a horrifying fight between the Investigators and the Ghoul war party began. Tsuruhashi noticed the rope and moved to cut it, and the Ghouls with him moved to engage the remaining Investigators. The Investigators realized what he was trying to do and moved to protect the rope from being cut. This led to a head-on collision (mind the pun.) There was a lot of tension as the group tried to form tactics or determine where they'd stand in the confined area. KP: (checking papers) All right, it looks like Sayaka-chan will engage Ghoul No. 2, while Miyako's stuck with No. 1, and Tatsumi-sensei will handle Tsuruhashi in the rear guard. Is that your battle formation? Sasahara: Before you guys get into that, I want to put Yuika-chan on my back. She'll ride piggyback as I climb up that rope. KP: Right. Well, roll against your (Climb) skill. Tatsumi: We have to hold them back at least two rounds. That's how long it'll take you to climb back up. Sasahara: Please do! Okay, my skill rating for this is 48% . . . KP: This is why I kept telling you to buff up your (Climb) skills for this adventure. Oh well! Anyway, the fight's getting started. Everyone's using a melee weapon, so this goes off on DEX order. Sasahara: My DEX is 18, so I go first. The roll to climb halfway to the top is (rolls dice) . . . a success! Sayaka x Sasahara x KP x Tatsumi: [Sighs of relief.] KP: Nice going. Okay, you're halfway up the rope. Who's next? Sayaka: My turn. I could make the Ghoul on me lose with a (Dodge), but I want to use my (Kick) attack instead. KP: That's a good choice. You have a good chance of success with your (Kick). Sayaka: Hii-yah! (rolls dice) I missed! The Kick attack hits the floor instead. Miyako: I'm up next. I attack with my (Small Club) skill. I'm using that fry pan. (rolls dice) No good! I was hoping to land a direct hit. KP: It's time for the Ghouls to have their attacks. Each gets two Claw attacks and one Bite attack in the same round! Sayaka: So those three Ghouls get to attack us nine times this round?! It's useless, it's all useless! Sasahara: One group is the giver, the other is the receiver. KP: I think you guys are going to have a hard time defending against attacks from creatures, which use things like tentacles, claws, and vicious bite attacks. Then again, these things are beyond common sense. It's only natural to be confounded. Fortunately, their attack skills aren't great - only 30 or 25 percent for Claw and Bite attacks. Miyako: That's not a high chance of success . . . but I think they could still do a lot of damage. KP: We'll let the dice decide. First up is the one attacking Miyako. (rolls dice twice) Both miss. Miyako: I'm starting to feel a little better. KP: And next up are the Ghouls attacking Sayaka-chan. They can try to hit you about six times this round. This is probably going to hurt a whole lot! (lol) Sayaka: Please be gentle with me! KP: (rolls dice several times) Okay, two of them succeeded with their Bite attacks. Gotta roll for damage (rolls dice) which comes to three points. Sayaka: That's not enough to make me faint, but it hurts-! KP: Worse still, now that they have succeeded in Bite attacks, they can use their teeth and jaws to worry the wound - to rip and tear your guts, so to speak. [TL Note: The exact wording for the worry attack was 甚振る 【いたぶる】 (v5r) (uk) to torment, to harass, to tease] Sayaka: Am I being bullied? KP: I'll try to explain it better. Two Ghouls have bitten into you, and one is biting each of your shoulders. Unless you find some way to detach them, they can automatically do damage to you in the next round by moving, twisting, and tearing. They'll each cause 1D4 additional points of damage, and they can and will keep doing this in every round that follows. Sasahara: So if I got bitten by two Ghouls, I'd start taking 2D4 damage every round!? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Dodging and Parrying Hello! Miyako reporting in again. My favorite defense skill is (Parry). The philosophy of the Cthulhu TRPG changes the nature of combat somewhat. Rather than get a lot of XP from fighting monsters, you gain experience through studying and researching. The PCs in the Cthulhu TRPG also aren't that dangerous compared to the monsters. In other TRPGs, PCs cut through huge amounts of enemies at a time. We can't do that as we're fragile compared to the beasts. Rather than focusing on tons of attack skills, I think (and this is my personal opinion) that Investigators should consider putting points in (Dodge) and (Parry). The (Dodge) skill is, as its name suggests, a way of evading an attack. You remember how Neo moved to avoid the bullets coming at him in that Matrix movie, right? There aren't any other skills used for moving to avoid an attack, so (Dodge) is the only game in town for eluding an attack. However, there are other options, such as the (Parry) skill. With this, the user employs his weapon as a tool for blocking. The weapon is used to intercept the attack of his enemy before it lands, with the weapon taking the damage instead of the user. You've seen this in samurai movies when one sword is used to block the other. Clang, clash, clang! In fact, that's why I always carry a fry pan around. It's not for cooking at all. Instead, I carry it to use as a tool for attacking and parrying! . . . Although I guess it hasn't helped me very much thus far. If you're fighting a human being who is only using natural attacks (Head Butt, Fist, Kick, etc.) you can even (Parry) without any equipment! It's only handy for fighting ordinary people though, so it's not useful against monsters, who have things like tusks, fangs, tentacles, claws, hooves, etc. In truth, the best way to deal with fighting is not to do it in the first place. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: I've only got 8 Hit Points left! I could die in the next round! Tatsumi: That won't happen at 0 HP, but you'll probably pass out from the pain. KP: Meanwhile, Tatsumi-sensei has been getting in the way of Tsuruhashi. Tatsumi: My (Psychiatry) skill will not do any good here. Still, I'll try to stop him through non-violent means. [Tsuruhashi-kun! Stop this! What you're doing is a perversion of the human spirit! It's insanity! You don't need to do this!] KP: Hatred fills his eyes when he hears this. [You were always like this! High and mighty, delivery sermons from heaven! But it's time for all of that to end! Once I finish the trial, I'll be able to go to another world - and ascend to the stage of the great Pickman! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!] Tatsumi: He's too far gone. But he should do all of this himself and involve other people! Miyako: It's like he's gone over to the Side of Insufficient Light. KP: He has - he's definitely beyond saving and has fallen into the Darkness. Okay, that's it for this round. On to Round Two! Sasahara: I guess I go first. I've got a DEX of 18. KP: No, the One with a DEX of 25 gets to go first. Sasahara: Who is that!? Who has a DEX of 25!? OST:  KP: From beyond the infinite darkness at the bottom of the hole, a long, silver rope comes rushing up at you. It's still being weaved together from metal threads. A beautiful woman is being carried on the rope. She produces a haughty laugh as she looks down on you disdainfully. Sasahara: What the heck is this? Is she here to help us? Tatsumi: Somehow this isn't how I expected Cosmic Horror to be . . . KP: As this strange being comes closer to you, you gradually start to feel weirder and weirder. Something like a huge insect is around her stomach. Maybe she was never meant to appear here? Or maybe her real shape is different? Her face tears and something else appears beneath it - but what appears first are fangs dripping with venom. Tatsumi: No. No, it can't be . . . KP: It was a gigantic spider. As it looks at you with blazing red eyes, a sense of solemnity descends upon you. It is no ordinary creature, and it came from the bottom of that tunnel. Might as well call for rolls against Sanity! Miyako: Oh no. I think this is a Cthulhu Cycle Diety. I only have 19 points left! KP: Hush and roll, please. Sasahara: (rolls dice) Made it! Sayaka: (rolls dice) I also passed! KP: If you make your rolls, you'll only lose 1 point of SAN. Sasahara: That wasn't as painful as I thought it'd be. Tatsumi: (rolls dice) I failed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Insane Insight Miyako reporting in once again. My favorite samurai leader is Oda Nobunaga. There's an optional rule in the Cthulhu TRPG permitting Insane Insights. To state the effect bluntly, Investigators who have fallen into madness have a chance to realize and declare something that someone with common sense would never think of. Under normal circumstances, that would be useless. However, as this is an insane game, these insights can in fact be quite useful. It's like that guy who thinks of something that turns the entire situation around! (TL Note: that could either be Ushiromiya Battler or Ryuuichi Naruhodo). To successfully accomplish this feat, an Investigator who is currently mad must roll over his INT x 5 on D100. This may seem like cheating, but it's something experienced players tend to do. As an example, if the Investigators encountered an enemy immune to weapons, the mad Investigator might scream [It's immortal!] This would tip off the rest of the group that it was time to make a hasty retreat. Alternatively, the mad Investigator might provide a hint towards the weakness of an enemy. The only limit in how this is used is the imagination of the players. Of course, this depends on your having a kindly Keeper who'll allow you to say these crazy things. He'll probably just laugh it off. Everyone, please give this a try. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Miyako: I guess I'll roll next. (rolls dice) That's a miss. KP: Not good! Those of you who failed will lose 1D10 Sanity points. Even though this is a diety, it's not too awful to look at compared to some of the others. Tatsumi: (rolls a die) Urgh, I just lost ten points! I've only got 43 left now. I just lost my marbles - it's Temporary Insanity time. Miyako: (rolls a die) Six points gone! I only have thirteen points left! I also fall into Temporary Insanity. Sasahara: Only thirteen points . . . you're headed into unknown territory, Miyako-san. Miyako: Dang it! The more I see, the crazier I get! KP: Oh ho ho ho! Watching your Sanity points fall is as much fun for me as counting money is for a miser. Such good business today! But I do have a consolation prize. There's an optional rule allowing you to make Insane Insights if you can roll over your INT x 5 on D100. Why not give it a try? Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Looks like I made it. Miyako: (rolls dice) I did too. We both are realizing all kinds of things today. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Mother in a Battle -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  Notes: As two of the Investigators had succumbed to madness, it was now time for the Keeper to decide what their symptoms were. He could have decided by rolling on random charts, but since this was a special occasion, he thought it was appropriate to pick them himself. KP: Tatsumi, the strange being in front of you is Atlach-Nacha, the god of spiders and the same entity that your brooch is dedicated to. Your fracturing mind focuses on it and you perceive it as a maternal figure - with a strange, unhealthy fetish. Tatsumi: [Mother . . . Mother, is that you?] Sayaka: Tatsumi-sensei is saying crazy things! Tatsumi: [Mother, it's been forty years since I last saw you. If you had lived, I would have taken good care of you.] is what I say as I misperceive Atlach-Nacha as my late mother. Sayaka: Forty years ago? She must have died at a young age. Tatsumi: She died when I was in my 20s. I was very poor back then. I must have caused her a lot of trouble. KP: Miyako, on the other hand, will develop a strong phobia of spiders. You also realize that the person she yearns for the most, Tatsumi-sensei, is about to become spider chow. Miyako: [We've got to get out of here! Tatsumi-sensei! Get away from It] Tatsumi: [What are you talking about? It's my mother. It must be Obon, because she's come back to me.] Tatsumi: That's your mother . . . for some reason, I sense a widening gulf between us. Sayaka: This is your hint: it's time to ditch Tatsumi-sensei (lol). Sasahara: Wow, you can be mean sometimes (lol). KP: Your Insane Insight is this: the situation has something to do with Tatsumi-sensei's strange brooch. That's the cause. And then everything clicks into place. Where'd he get that brooch? From Tsuruhashi. That vile little kid repaid Tatsumi-sensei's kindness with a cursed item that drove his mentor into insanity. Tatsumi: [Come, Mother. I'll take you back to my brother Genroku's house.] Sayaka: Wait, this is crazy. Tatsumi: I have many brothers. Maybe I even have one that Mother doesn't know about. Sayaka: This is completely nuts! (lol) KP: Okay, I've finished my ruling on the results of those Sanity rolls. Now Atlach-Nacha will make Its move. Sasahara: It hadn't attacked us before? KP: Yes, that's right. It's going to immobilize Tatsumi so he moves around less. Atlach-Nacha has an 80% chance to hit.with the thread It's throwing. Sasahara: The god has a high chance of hitting. KP: (rolls dice) That'll connect. Atlach-Nacha throws many strings of spider silk over you, entrapping you and making you unable to move. If you want to escape the webbing, you'll need to beat a STR of 30 on the Resistance Table. Tatsumi: Not good. [Mother, what is this? Why are you doing these strange things?] KP: Meanwhile, Sasahara is about to make that (Climb) roll. Sayaka: Hurry and climb out of there! We need you! Sasahara: Leave it to me! Here we go! (rolls dice) Aaack, I failed! Sayaka: Hooeee! That's really bad. Sasahara: I have dishonored my name. KP: Sayaka-chan, if you don't want the Ghouls clinging on to you, you should dislodge them with a STR vs STR battle on the Resistance Table. Sayaka: Yes, that sounds good. (rolls dice) What a terrible roll. I can beat them if they total STR 8 though. KP: Nope, Ghouls are pretty strong. They're not that weak. They're still locked onto your shoulders, gnawing away. Om nom nom nom nom. Tatsumi: We're all gonna die. Miyako: The fates can be hard and merciless. It's been a good run, everyone. Sasahara: Will this be the end of R'lyeh Company? Everyone: Yes. (White text on black background: "Silence") KP: It's Miyako's turn next. Miyako: I'm still terrified because of my arachnophobia. I'll yell for everyone to get away from the spider and then I'll try to hit the Ghouls with my fry pan. (rolls dice) I missed! I'm sorry. KP: Next up is the Ghoul's turn. They, however, look at Atlach-Nacha and immediately begin to panic. They use their movement action to flee the area. Sayaka: So that thing saved us? Tatsumi: Mother has trapped me and tied me up in this rope. If someone can help me get loose, maybe this will all be all right. KP: Tsuruhashi has remained behind. He looks down at Tatsumi-sensei, who is entangled in spider silk. [Tatsumi-sensei. At last you understand.] he says with a happy murmur. Tatsumi: What is it? What is it? KP: Tsuruhashi ignores all of you and approaches Atlach-Nacha. [Oh, how beautiful. Show me more of yourself. What a beautiful existence. How like a god! No, this is god Itself!] he says in praise. Tatsumi: [What are you talking about? That's just Mom.] (lol) Sayaka: Maybe this means you two can become friends. (lol) KP: Time for the next round. Nobody here beats a DEX 25, so Atlach-Nacha goes first. It uses one of its long legs to smash Tsuruhashi, which had gone too close to It. It then grabs Tsuruhashi and stabs him on Its fangs. Perhaps he got too close to It. Tsuruhashi cries out in agony and his eyes go wide. He struggles in vain upon the fang that has gored him. Sayaka: How brutal! KP: Something seems to be happening to Tsuruhashi's body. His blood and flesh begin to bubble beneath his skin before they reach the boiling point. His skin turns the blue-green color of the sea and he spasms in pain before going limp. Then Atlach-Nacha sucks out all his blood and liquified organs in one gulp. Sayaka: This is cruel! This is inhuman! KP: After the god has had Its fill, it throws the carcass to the cave floor. You hear the clatter of the bones inside and the rustle of the empty skin. Tatsumi: What a terrible way to die. Still, as ye sow, so shall ye reap. Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty. KP: I'm in a generous mood, so the people who have already fallen into madness don't need to roll, but Sayaka and Sasahara both need to make Sanity checks right now. Sasahara x Sayaka: (roll dice) We both failed! KP: You both become 1D4 Sanity points the poorer. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Atlach-Nacha Hello! Everyone's favorite guide, Miyako reporting in. My favorite bug is the honeybee. Some of you know the name Atlach-Nacha from the R-18 game that kids absolutely must not play. I'm not speaking of that, though. This is in fact a Great Old One. And It's exactly how It looks: a spider god. We crossed down through the Ghoul tunnel into the Dreamlands, and in the process found one of the areas where Atlach-Nacha was spinning Its web. It tirelessly works on building a certain bridge. No one seems to know why It does this. I've heard tales that when the bridge is finished, the world will end, but 'if X happens, the world will end' is quite a common phrase in this setting. We don't pay it much attention. We're also helped by the fact that this diety is not especially malicious. I should mention that the first time I met this Keeper, he was gleefully describing Atlach-Nacha devouring all the Investigators with gusto. Translator's Note: I would recommend reading Clark Ashton Smith's tale The Seven Geases for more information on how Atlach-Nacha thinks and behaves. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: (rolls a die) Only one point. I still have 62 points left. Not too bad. Sasahara: (rolls a die) I also lost only a point, leaving me with 56 points. Tatsumi: I'm jealous. I've already burned through 20 Sanity points this adventure. I wish I had been able to get more points by bumping up my (Psychiatry). KP: There is the matter of Sasahara's (Climb) test. Sayaka: We can't get on with the adventure until you climb up, so good luck! Get to it! Sasahara: I know. I have to succeed. And that's why I absolutely will do it! KP: If you don't succeed, it'll be bad. Someone might die. (evillol) Sasahara: (rolls dice) I got it with a 47! Sayaka: Is that a passing amount? Sasahara: Yes . . . barely. But only because I used the training period at the beginning of the scenario. If I hadn't, I would have failed the test. Everybody: (applauds) KP: That was really dangerous! I hope all of you see why you should heed my words of wisdom. Sasahara: Of course, I could only do this because of the Love Power I got from Yuika-chan. Sayaka: Wait, what about Tomomi-san? Sasahara: I have that as well (calm). Tatsumi: You have the rare gift of saying the worst things in a positive way. Miyako: Putting aside this lovely conversation topic, the Ghouls that were attacking us are gone. Maybe that means we can get back to exploring the area. But that gigantic spider is still here. We can't do much else but flee. KP: Even if you have fallen into madness, you can do plenty fo things. The person who decides whether you're acting in character and taking into account your madness is me, the Keeper. Miyako: Fine. My character believes that Tsuruhashi is to blame for this nightmare. I'm going to take the Atlach-Nacha brooch, the source of all this evil, which Tatsumi-sensei is wearing. Then I'll throw it at the spider god. Sasahara: That might be a nice idea. He has been carrying it around for a while. Maybe if Atlach-Nacha gets the brooch, It'll leave us alone. KP: Sounds good. I'll allow you to do this because your love for Tatsumi-sensei is as strong as your terror of spiders. (lol) Miyako: [Tatsumi-sensei, please give me that brooch!] Tatsumi: [What are you talking about? This is my little brother, Genroku! Cut it out!] Miyako: I nod and attentitvely listen as I get closer, then I snatch away the brooch from him. (lol) Tatsumi: I'm entangled, so I can't do anything to stop her. [Genroku! Nuoooo!] is what I yell. Miyako: [So long as we have this, none of us are safe!] and with that, I throw the brooch at Atlach-Nacha-sama. KP: Atlach-Nacha manages to grab the item with Its legs. You're not sure how It's going to react to this. You'll see in the next round. Now it's Tatsumi-sensei's turn . . . Tatsumi: I can't move, so I will just talk this round. [Hey Genroku, it's not fair for Mom to only hug you! Share the love!] is what I say as I look over them with envy. Sayaka: I never knew that Tatsumi-sensei had such a mother complex. How unexpected. KP: Then it's the next round. Atlach-Nacha seems to treasure the brooch. It carefully puts the brooch on Its back, which is bristling with hair. However, you can't tell if this alone has satisfied It. I should add that you just saw It dispatch a foolish and arrogant mortal who invaded Its territory. It may not be in a good mood. Miyako: But we're doing well for lasting this long against a Mythos diety. Sayaka: How about we cut the silk binding Tatsumi and make a break for it? It seems like the thing to do. Sasahara: Isn't that stuff STR 30? None of us can beat that. KP: If you all work together, you could do it. There are some complications, though. For starters, Miyako just cheesed off the god by throwing things at It. Then there's the problem of the two Investigators who are not in their right minds and incapable of team effort right now. I don't think it's possible right now. Miyako: Then there's nothing to be done. Sasahara: Even if I pair up with Sayaka to free Tatsumi, that's only a total of 20 STR. It won't beat the 30 score we're up against. Tatsumi: Can I help them? KP: Hmm. I guess you can. But since you're out of your mind, you need to justify why you would do that with an in-character excuse. Tatsumi: Little brother Genroku is hogging all of Mom's attention! I can't let him get away with that. So I'm going to bust out of these ropes. KP: Well done. I will permit it. Tatsumi: [Mother, don't only pay attention to Genroku! Look at me too!] Miyako: Even if we add in Tatsumi's STR, the total's only 32. We'll have only a 60% chance of success. That's not good enough. Sasahara: Can we get Yuika-chan to help us? KP: Oh, hmm. Well, you did just save her. I'm sure she'd cooperate. I don't have a character sheet for her so we ought to generate her STR right now. She's still a child so she won't get 3D6 STR. I think she'd have about 2D6+1 STR. Tatsumi: That sounds about right. Sasahara: Well, as the true and honest legal guardian of Yuika-chan, I'll roll up her STR. (rolls dice) 8 STR! If we add that in, we get a 100% chance. KP: You don't have to roll for it. Tatsumi-sensei is now freed from the silk. Sayaka: Then we grab him and book. (lol) Tatsumi: [What are you doing!? Mother! Mother!] I yell as they pull me away. Sayaka: [Obon's over. It's time for your mother to return to the land of the dead.] Tatsumi: [Mother! I'll prepare an eggplant cow for you for the next Obon! I'll see you again then! ] KP: Now was this a dramatic, scary scene or just silly? I don't know anymore. (lol) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Dawn at Heike Hill -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: Your group begins to flee from Atlach-Nacha in earnest, tracing your path back using the footprints that were left behind. Out of the hole comes a lively-sounding, high-pitched voice. Sayaka: What could this be? KP: (creepy voice) [This is a battlefield. It belongs to neither the Genji nor the Heike forces. This is the home of the hungry. If you would join us, remain here. If you still feel a link to your old world, then leave!] You look to see where the voice came from and discover that it must be from one of the several ghouls decked out in samurai armor standing inside the cave. They look at you with glowering eyes under their helmets. Sasahara: [We have lots of things to do in our world!] Sayaka: [Bye!] Tatsumi: [But I have so many things to say to Mother . . . ] Sayaka: No, forget about that for now. Just run! Notes: And with that, the Investigators fled the area. They successfully escaped the Dreamlands and the cave. KP: Once you have a chance to rest and look around your surroundings, you see that it's almost time for the sun to rise. The nearby ocean looks quite dark in the night. Maybe the flow of time where you were was different from how it was back in your world. Sasahara: Oh, like Urashima Taroh. KP: As the light of the sun slowly spreads across the land, the strange mist sinks into the earth. Before your eyes, the scenery of the strange graves disappears, leaving only the ordinary markers behind. Sayaka: I think this means . . . we survived the scenario. KP: The sunshine spreads across the area, dispelling the dread that hung over it. Yuika clings to Sasahara's waist, silently watching this transpire. Sasahara: [Yuika-chan, that nightmare is over now.] Tatsumi: I'll never be able to wake from it. Miyako: The spiders! The spiders are horrible! (lol) Sasahara: Just when things were starting to look okay, you guys spoiled the mood! (lol) KP: Let's take stock of the situation. You put a stop to Tsuruhashi's terrible experiments and his dark plan, and you successfully retreated from Atlach-Nacha's tunnels. In recognition of your accomplishments, I award you 1D10 Sanity points. Miyako: That still seems like a low amount. We saw a deity this time! (lol) KP: I wasn't finished. You also were able to rescue Yuika-chan. That means you get an additional 1D3 Sanity points. Miyako: It's still unlikely that I'll reverse my dwindling Sanity fortunes. Tatsumi: I started out so high. I'm sure I'll end up in the red. KP: Roll the dice to see how many Sanity points you get back. OST: Sayaka: I earn 9 points. My new Sanity score is 71 (net loss of 1 point). Tatsumi: I earn 6 points. My new Sanity score is 49 (net loss of 20 points). Miyako: I earn 13 points. My new Sanity score is 26 (net gain of 13 points). Sasahara: I earn 10 points. My new Sanity score is 66 (net gain of 6 points). OST:  Miyako: I did it! I maxed out that roll! I can't believe that I ended up with a Sanity profit! I'm in the black. KP: Oooh, nice job. Now you won't have to worry about going mad in the next scenario. Miyako: No, wait! My Sanity's not that high! Oh noooooo! (lol) Tatsumi: I did not get much back. This time around I lost a lot. I'm in the red. KP: You have 49 points left. That means your chances of passing and failing a Sanity check are equal. Doesn't that make it more exciting? Sayaka: I'm in the red, but since I didn't lose that much during the scenario, I guess it's all right. KP: With a big stack of 71 Sanity points left, you can feel at ease. Sasahara: Sorry to say it, but I am doing extremely well right now. I got a lot of Sanity points back and I'm pleased with myself for rescuing Yuika-chan. KP: By the way Tatsumi-sensei, it's amazing how many Sanity points you still have left. Tatsumi: Yes indeed. I did all of that research with those grimoires and studied their principles, but then some of my POW got sucked away. I think my plans for making a wizard character have changed. KP: Don't make any big plans. You will be going to an asylum to go through therapy. You should expect to remain there for a while. Tatsumi: Oh yeah. I forgot. Miyako: Don't worry! I'll be there with you! Sayaka: How happy for you, Miyako-san! (lol) Miyako: Together with Tatsumi-sensei, enjoying rest and relaxation. Tatsumi: Hmmmmm . . . KP: Well then! Please wait for the next adventure of R'lyeh Company! What kind of mixed-up case will they deal with next! Everyone: Otsukaresama deshita! Conclusion of Scenario Two, Consultation with Miyako-chan OST: Notes: After the game, the Keeper went over with Miyako's player to an izakaya. While at the pub, they had a discussion of their impressions of the session. KP: If I have a few too many, I'll forget what we're talking about. So before that happens, go ahead and advance the subject of our conversation. Miyako: Umm, after playing through our session, I don't think I can eat anything with boiled giblets. KP: If you don't want to, you don't have to eat them. Miyako: No, I like them so I'll have some. KP: We had that amazing scene in the bath full of blood. It was dripping everywhere. I bet you have your eggs hard-boiled for a while. (lol) Miyako: There were a lot of things I think you couldn't write about in the replay. KP: Sasahara had some plenty of bad stuff happen to him. Miyako: Now I want to tease him about it. KP: Yes, yes! (lol) Miyako: One thing I wanted to ask is how you think of the contents of our scenarios? KP: What in particular are you asking about? Miyako: The raw and bloody flesh. How the ghouls were summoned! KP: Yeah, you'd choose that. (lol) Miyako: Respectable Investigators wouldn't look into that! KP: Part of that came from how Tsuruhashi wanted to use Sashibe's body as an offering to the Ghouls. Parts of the story flowed out of that event. Miyako: How can anyone be that cruel! KP: It's a horror game. There needs to be murder and violence. I didn't want to just use the element of Sayaka's kidnapping. Miyako: I understand your position, but it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. KP: Maybe. I guess I can see that happening. Miyako: What if you take away the SAN of the players themselves? KP: Questions about human morality are always difficult. Miyako: No, this is bad and you don't need to think about it to know that it's bad. Having NPCs do this kind of thing is fine, but doing it to main characters like PCs is not good. KP: I have people in the group that like that kind of stuff, you know. Miyako: But it's outside the range of acceptable, allowable behavior. KP: Huuuh. Sorry. Notes: After hearing about bad feelings which stemmed from frank discussions of gory anatomy caused by my direction, I couldn't deny the results. In fact, that was the entire point of doing having a splatter scenario. People can't experience these situations in their normal lives, so when I had a game which had those things, I put them front and center to allow other people to enjoy them. But I went too far. It was hard to adjust to make it just right. I was listening to a moral lecure from a player. Everyone has his own sense of what's right or wrong, but how can I get a stranger to accept that? Even though my gaming group and I had been playing for a long time, there were still discrepancies. Listening to this didn't trigger a sense of guilt, but I did wish I had a tougher heart so that this criticism didn't hurt as much. Miyako: Going on the end of the game, the final combat scene was extremely dangerous. I thought Sayaka-chan might die. KP: That could have happened. I messed up by using three Ghouls. That's too many. If they had scored more hits, she would have died. (lol) Miyako: That's not a laughing matter! KP: If she had made her (Listen) check, she would have heard the group trying to sneak up on you guys. Almost everything else went to plan, including the Attack of Atlach-Nacha, the event which I planned for the finale. I had envisioned it - you guys duking it out with Ghouls in a Battle Royale, with the spider diety crawling up from below to surprise you. Miyako: We don't want to be killed for the finale! KP: [Even though there are these terrible people, rising above them from behind is this transcendent god!] is the kind of despair I was envisioning. Miyako: Parts of it were so terrible that we forgot about the Ghouls. The death of the ringleader, Tsuruhashi was amazing. KP: There were several other fanatics like Tsuruhashi who were with him, but it was enough for Tsuruhashi to get attacked and killed. Sucked to be him. It would also have been boring if he kept on talking for too long. Miyako: You can't have a discussion over tea and scones with the mad. KP: That moment when Atlach-Nacha rose out of the pit and Miyako and Tatsumi both went crazy was pretty exciting. Miyako: Sasahara had only just gotten up the rope, allowing us to move freely. Sayaka-chan was in a real pinch. KP: In truth, your group probably could have gotten away if you had made a run for it. Until he climbed up, Sasahara would have had no way of escaping. Maybe you didn't want to leave him hanging. Miyako: No, we couldn't escape then. KP: And if you had also abandoned Tatsumi-sensei, it would have been easy to escape the cave. Miyako: That's impossible. We couldn't do that! KP: I wasn't aiming for a TPK. You guys barely survived, and I'm okay with that. Miyako: I also remembered something. I threw away that POW-boosting brooch. If circumstances had been better, we might have kept that with us. KP: Revel in the fact that you survived. Don't be so greedy. Miyako: That's true. We all lived through it. KP: Our final session from this campaign is coming up soon. I think it's time to introduce a new Investigator. I think your Sanity might be strong enough to last until the end. Miyako: I was just lucky. I didn't lose many points. I also regained a lot of Sanity points at the end of the scenario. KP: The other side of the coin is that Tatsumi-sensei is losing points at a rapid clip. It's like he's in a negative spiral. Miyako: Perhaps so. Tatsumi-sensei and I descended into madness like a happy, loving couple in this scenario. KP: What sort of scenario shall we do next? Miyako: We've had a bellyfull of horrible serial murders. KP: I get it. The whole premise of the campaign has been a different feel each scenario, so I won't use them in the next one. Miyako: We've had closed room murders and a splatter scenario so far, so how about for our next game we do something really relaxing? KP: Something relaxing, you say? Miyako: Something where we won't lose a lot of Sanity points. KP: Rejected! Miyako: Boo! Boo! KP: Hmm. You and the sensei will be receiving treatment for a while, so I'm going to set this scenario another season forward. It'll be mid-winter. Miyako: A fun trip to a skiing resort . . . that changes for the worse when we get snowed in and trapped. KP: Tempting! But we did that in the first scenario (lol) Miyako: Quite so. Very well, how about an onsen trip? KP: More sightseeing! You're cramming so many sightseeing trips in here that the book is going to be stuffed full of them. Miyako: But if you think of winter in Japan, it's gotta be that. KP: Winter in Japan . . . nabe and hot sake. Miyako: Then a relaxing scenario, with the Investigators soaking in onsen while enjoying nabe and hot sake? KP: No, it won't be that. This is like an extra OVA final episode for an anime series that concluded. Miyako: Those are nice sometimes. KP: Imagining the Cthulhu Mythos in that snowbank is an interesting image. Okay, the next scenario is going to be in a village with a slowly declining population, set in the countryside, littered with snow. Miyako: Oh, like Kindaichi Kousuke? KP: I always got more of a summer feeling, but for the most part I think you're right. In the middle of an isolated community, a strange and impossible event occurs. Miyako: I like it. It can be a remote village full of strange customs. KP: All right. It will be done, with the feeling of Kindaichi Kosuke. Miyako: Ah, that sounds all right. With a lot less grotesque imagery. KP: You're not letting up on that point. Notes: The alcohol was catching up to me, but the image and theme were both coming to mind. I liked the idea of the old village with strange customs, and pondered what they were and how they came to exist. I need to pick a general region and some creatures that'll be in it. I already have an idea for the setting. The creature might be part of nature, and it should be one that has influenced the customs of the village. What creature should I choose? That's an issue. Uchiyama might choose Ithaqua. There's no question. But that's so predictable it'll be rejected swiftly. Let's think. Well, the origin of the abominable snowman is the Mi-Go (Yuggothans), but the creature should reflect the Japanese ambiance. The abominable snowman would work better for Tibet. This is the last scenario for the campaign. It's tempting to throw a diety at them, but I think it's a waste if that's the only time for it to show up. The creature I'll choose might only be seen through glimpses at the beginning. Something like a being from a Servitor Race would be good. It could be something revered as a god. This is a mountain town, so obviously Cthulhu Itself is right out. Adding in Cthugha could make for an exciting game but It isn't a diety that would fit the quiet mood of the area. So I need to choose something else. It's hard to think of one. But I have tons of monsters from Enterbrain's Malleus Monstrorum. I'll have a look inside. In addition to the usual beasts and deities, there are many other beings. Looking through there should cause some neurons to start firing. ------------------------------------ ONE HOUR LATER ------------------------------------ Hmm. Still can't think of anything. Now that I think about it, winter is the season for Aldebaran. Well, then I have license to use That. Now it's time to find something different related to That in the Malleus Monstrorum! After a bit of searching, I found what I needed, and had the flash of inspiration I needed to make the scenario! (evilol) ======================= Scenario III [The Case of R'lyeh Company's Stolen Objects] ======================= OST:  KP: Hmm. As we saw last game, Tatsumi-sensei and Miyako both fell into indefinite insanity. It'll take five months of hospitalization for you to recover. Miyako: I had developed an acute phobia of spiders. What about Tatsumi-sensei? Tatsumi: I was delusional. My character thought that Atlach-Nacha was his mother, returned from the dead. KP: If you let him go, he might run to Heike Hill and jump into the chest of Atlach-Nacha. Miyako: I'll guard him so he doesn't do anything dangerous. KP: (checking notes) Miyako, they can reduce your phobia of spiders from Severe to Mild in this time. After that, it would be good to let Tatsumi-sensei look after you. Miyako: I'll peel apples for Tatsumi-sensei and will hope for our return to health and happiness. Tatsumi: I guess there's no way for me to study a grimoire during that time. KP: Nope, no way, no how. Tatsumi: It's just that we'll be confined away for so long, I was hoping to do some reading to pass the time. (lol) KP: If you tried to read something that was bad for your mental health, one of the nurses would confiscate it. Tatsumi: Aaaah, there's a precious book I really want to read! Miyako: Calm down, Tatsumi-sensei. All that thrashing around will be bad for you. You should calm down and complete your rehabilitation. Tatsumi: (disappointed) There's nothing to be done. KP: You have been moved to a quiet treatment center by the sea and are receiving counseling sessions conducted by an expert. It's quiet and peaceful. It is a facility for the insane, so the inside is sealed away from the outside by iron lattice gates. It is very quiet inside, though. Miyako: [This isn't so bad. Maybe after Sensei retires, we can buy some land near the ocean and look at it everyday.] Tatsumi: [That sounds all right.] OST:  KP: It's been two months since you were admitted. You can see the signs of Autumn outside the institution. Tatsumi-sensei, a most troubling letter arrives for you. Tatsumi: Oh dear. I bet it's from the university about the leave I've been taking. KP: No. It is from your hometown. Tatsumi: Can you be more specific? KP: On a mountain in between the border of Akita prefecture and Yamagata prefecture is a run down village called Irusuberi. TL Note: It'd be right below the highlighted area. KP: Your father was sent from that village during WWII to fight and died overseas in battle. After WWII and all the confusion it caused, the area was left in poverty. You lost your brothers to disease. You were the only one from your family who survived. Tatsumi: I see. KP: Since you went to enroll in Tokyo University, you've never been back home. Your mother, who raised you all by herself, died alone. Tatsumi: You make me sound extremely impious! KP: You are certain that your absence had something to do how she fell ill. Tatsumi: [ I hurt my mother. During my years as a university student, I was so occupied with my studies that I had no time to visit her.] Miyako: [Once we're discharged, we'll go to her grave and pay our respects.] Tatsumi: [Yes, let's do that. Definitely.] KP: And now, the content of the letter. Tatsumi: Dang it, I forgot to keep my hidden past a secret from the other players. KP: The letter is about a woman that looked after you when your mother was busy. She was called Karibe. Tatsumi: [I've had letters from Karibe-san, mostly ones concerning the funeral arrangements she had to make.] KP: The letter's content, in summary, concerns an old family that has continued from the Meiji era. They have apparently inherited something and want to ask you about it. They would like you to share your knowledge. Tatsumi: Go to the ancient house of an old family, and somehow use the trip for sightseeing? Miyako: You used to have this kind of assignment fairly often, didn't you? You're knowledgeable about old culture. Maybe this is a good break for you. KP: You'll get to use the old family house as an inn, and experience living in old Japan. OST:  Tatsumi: [Hmm. Karibe-san took good care of me. I'd certainly like to lend a hand, but I'm still in an institution. Would they be willing to wait until I am discharged and have had a chance to pay my respects at the gravesite?] Miyako: [Yes, we need to think about thse things.] KP: After reading the letter from her family and talking amongst yourselves, you realize you have a visitor. It's someone you've referenced in a book that you published. His name is Nagasao Mitsuyuki. He's always seemed a little iffy to you, but when it comes to management, projects, and personal relationships, he's an excellent consultant. Mitsuyuki is someone who can take an idea and make it into a weapon. He's a short and plump middle-aged man, and carries himself with the bearing of those blessed with luck and fortune. Tatsumi: A consultant? I guess that's why he'd come in person. [Thank you for coming all this way to see me. I'm sorry for causing you trouble.] KP: (Nagasao) [Ah, as someone who benefited from the launch of Tatsumi-sensei's last book, it's only natural that I should pay my respects. I hope to be able to help out with your next project as well.] Tatsumi: [When the time comes, I'll be counting on your assistance again.] After the customary back and forth, I'll bring out the letter and ask him about it. [It turns out that I've already accepted a request for help from my old hometown. Nagasao-kun, can I count on your cooperation for this?] OST: KP: His eyes gleam with excitement. [Ah, yes. Yes, I think I will be able to help. If they're specifically asking for Tatsumi-sensei's help, then I think we have the opportunity to launch a new project. The authority on psychology, Tatsumi-sensei, his old homeotwn, in a story of healing with village folk. It doesn't sound like a bad thing at all.] Tatsumi: [After I am discharged I will be able to provide you with full assistance.] KP: [Very well then. I'll bring along my assistant and will conduct a preliminary survey of the area.] Tatsumi: [Thanks. I really appreciate your help.] KP: Perhaps because of all the discussion of it, you see your hometown in a dream that evening. Tatsumi: What kind of dream is it? KP: A memory of your younger days. You were getting on the bus for Tokyo. You can see the figures of your mother and the other villages outside. You could also hear the beat of drums being played by the village children. Tatsumi: What was that last part? You said they were beating drums? KP: For some reason, the rhythm the kids played on drums when you left the village remains in your memory. Tatsumi: That's strange. I don't understand. KP: You look out of the bus at the kids playing the drum. Among their thin line is a woman in a white kimono. She belongs to the Tadori family, a long-established family in the area. Her name is Sato. Tatsumi: Maybe this is my memory of my first love. KP: Seems that way. She's standing under a matching white parasol. As a restless young man, you would sometimes go for walks with her. But ten years seperated the two of you once you went to Tokyo. Your memories before you left were innocent and pure. Much later on, she married a man who returned from Manchuria. She never seemed very happy. You also remember the time she held your hand as you walked together. Tatsumi: How nostalgic. KP: Be aware there was a big age difference between the two of you. You were an elementary school student. She was in her early twenties. Miyako: I never knew he liked older women! He went in the other direction with me. (laughs) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Shadow Lurking at R'lyeh Company -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  KP: (checks a calendar) The seasons change and now it is Christmas Eve. This is also the day that Tatsumi-sensei and Miyako-san are discharged. Your treatment will restore 1D3 points of Sanity to you. Miyako: Only that much? Tatsumi: (rolls a die) Oh, three points. I have 52 points in the bank. Moiyako: (rolls a die) Two points for me. I have 28 points. KP: A lot of your treatment was concentrated on reducing your mental illnesses. Miyako: Guess I won't be afraid of spiders anymore. I'm so over my fear of them I bet I could even eat one. KP: That sounds crazy too! Sayaka: Now that you've been discharged, come celebrate Christmas Eve with us! Sasahara: That sounds good. Sayaka: I'll be busy cleaning up the store and getting it ready for the party. Sasahara-san, would you pick them up in your car? Sasahara: They had to leave behind quite a bit of gear when they were admitted. I load up the car with anything I think they might need and then I roll out to get them. KP: The treatment center is located far away from Tokyo. You have to drive all day to get there. You arrive around 20:00. Sayaka: No biggie. We're holding a private party at the store, so even if we are there late at night it won't be a problem. KP: On that note, weren't you going out to pick up things for the party? Sayaka: One of the things will be a Christmas cake. I'll also pick up some barbeque fixings, chicken, and champagne. TL Note: In Japan, a dessert called a Christmas cake is eaten on Christmas Eve. It is a sponge cake, frosted with whipped cream, and often decorated with strawberries. It may be topped with Christmas chocolates or other seasonal fruit.) KP: Roger that. You leave the store and go shopping for the items under a sparkling sky. Seasonal decorations have been set up in the area around you. After making a few stops, you finish getting everything and head on back to the store. Once you get there, make a (Listen) roll. Sayaka: All right. (rolls dice) I got it. KP: You were standing outside of the shop when suddenly you hear a noise from inside it. Sayaka: [Randoru-ojiisan? Did you finally come back?] I ask as I open the door and look inside. KP: The door is still locked when you try it. Sayaka: [Uh, why is the door locked?] I take the key out of my pocket, open the door with it, and then go inside. KP: You open the door and go inside. You turn on the light you always use, and in the illuminated space you see something that surprises you! Sayaka: What is it!? What is it!? KP: It's humanoid, but it looks like features from ants and bats have been thrown in. The thing has been posed like merchandise, but is far too horrible to put on display for customers. The fingernails on it look like they grew on it. Whoever made this is an artistic genius. But I digress. Roll against your Sanity. Sayaka: Wow, already!? (sweatdrop) Sasahara: He must have been champing at the bit. (lol) Sayaka: (rolls dice) I made the check! KP: Hmph. Then you lose no Sanity points. Sayaka: Oh, was it not that scary after all? Miyako: I'm sure it was very frightening in its own way. Sayaka: It'd be bad if someone steals things from this store. Just for good measure, I give it a kick. Sasahara: Whaaat? (lol) Sayaka: One ultra-macho maximum power karate kick, coming at you live and in 3D! (rolls dice) Well? Did it break? KP: (irked) No matter how many Sanity checks you pass, you shouldn't start to look down on me. The creature turns to look at you, who just attacked It. Its diseased mouth opens and it shrieks a loathsome, deep croaking sound. Sayaka: Whoops, did I set something off? Miyako: Could it be casting a spell? Sayaka: Wait! Can they do that!? KP: The bizarre, unsettling ululation of the creature was meant to be its war cry, and now you feel as if someone held a hot frypan against your skin. You just lost 3 HP. Mark them off. Sayaka: Oh no! Sasahara: Is this thing attacking her with microwaves? KP: That's about right. It's as if Sayaka-chan has been put inside a gigantic microwave. Sayaka: What do I do? What do I do? KP: I tell you truly: continuing to expose your body to powerful microwaves will be hazardous to your health. Sayaka: I dash to the front of the store and get the heck out of there! KP: As you run out of R'lyeh Company, the thing does not pursue you. A few moments later a black, dark shadow rushes out of the store and flies off into the sky, disappearing among the twinkling, innumerable stars. Sayaka: I try to snap a photo of it with the camera on my keitai. KP: What for? Sayaka: Because I'll get mad if no one believes me. Note: After Sayaka confirmed the Byakhee was long gone, she went to meet up with Tatsumi-sensei, who had been discharged from the hospital. Sayaka: [There was a monster waiting for me at R'lyeh Company!] Sasahara: [Ha ha ha ! What a story, Sayaka-chan! You must be kidding, aren't you?] Sayaka: [I thought you might say that. I took a photo. Look at this!] And I show him the image I took with my cell phone. KP: You never rolled against your (Photography) skill. Do that now and let's see how well it turned out. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Oh drat, I failed. OST:  KP: (looks at result) The photograph is out of focus. Your hand is also in the shot. Still, you managed to vaguely capture the image of the disquieting shadow as it flew out of R'lyeh Company. Sasahara, make a Sanity roll now, please. The rest of you should also. Tatsumi: Why are you showing me these frightening things when I just got out of a mental hospital? (rolls dice) I made it. KP: You don't lose any Sanity points. It helped that the photograph was bad. Miyako x Sasahara: (rolls dice) We failed. KP: You get chills from what you see in the photograph. You each lose 1 point of Sanity. Miyako: [This is . . .! It's not any normal animal!] Sasahara: [Sayaka-chan, did it steal anything from your store?] Sayaka: Why don't we go back to R'lyeh Company and see? It'll be safe if we go together. KP: When you guys get there, you can detect if anything went missing with a (Spot Hidden) roll. Sayaka: I got this. They're my forte. (rolls dice) Made my check. KP: None of the store's merchandise is gone, but some of the luggage you were holding onto for Tatsumi-sensei has been rifled through. The brooch he had is gone. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Byakhee Hello! Miyako reporting in. My favorite kind of cake is rare cheesecake. (TL Note: ビャーキー (Byakhee) in Japanese is pronounced bi-yah-ki, and ケーキ (cake) in Japanese is pronounced kei-ki. Miyako is making a joke.) The type of monster Sayaka-chan came across was well known to Lanban Shrewsbury, who used the creature to travel to Celaeno. It is a common creature in the continuity and is sometimes associated with Hastur, who uses the species as enforcers, messengers, etc. Because this monster can be felled with an ordinary gun, many Investigators think of these as zako (small fry) type monsters. In fact, I have encountered these things in several different adventures and defeated them. Not that I'm trying to boast or anything (laughs). The one we are facing in this adventure started off combat with an attack spell. I bet it has inflated statistics and high skills. We can't take this one lightly. (By the way, the Byakhee was using the Song of Hastur to attack Sayaka-chan. The spell causes 1D6 points of damage every round, but has been known to cause loss of CON and APP in victims as well. If Sayaka-chan had stuck around longer, she might have ended up damaging her cute face. In short, no matter what the monster, you're better off not fighting it in combat. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tatsumi: One of my acquaintances . . . no way, it couldn't be Nagasao-kun, could it? KP: Yes, it could! Half a month before, that item was brought in by Nagasao to Randoru, who was acting as the shopkeeper here. He wanted to have the item appraised. At the time Nagasao arrived, Randoru wasn't in, and Sayaka-chan was minding the store. She took custody of the goods in Randoru's place. Sayaka: Did I have a chance to look inside the container? KP: Let's say that you did. Inside was an agate brooch with a golden inlay. Also included was a very old book written in Chinese. Sayaka: We've established that the brooch is gone. What about the old book? Is it still here? Tatsumi: [Ah, that was what Nagasao-kun brought.] And did we at least read the title of the book he brought? KP: Uh . . . Okay, try to make either a (Know) or (History) roll for me. You'll need to take five minutes of game time to think about it and you only get one chance on the dice. That goes for everyone. Sayaka x Tatsumi x Miyako x Sasahara: (roll dice) We failed. Sasahara: This is outside our areas of specialization. KP: The book is here, but you realize as you page through it that some pages are missing Sayaka: Did the alien take them? KP: No, they were taken long before that. The pages were removed carefully. You get the feeling that they were gone before you took possession of the book. Tatsumi: Missing from the very beginning . . . Sayaka: I'm very interested in this book. I'm going to use an internet search engine. I research the characters used in the book's title. Are there any hits? KP: There are many search engines one can use: google, bing, yahoo, etc. Make a (Luck) check. If you can, a useful search result will exist and be revealed. Sayaka: I'll type in "I'm a high school girl from the Tokyo area. Does anyone know how to read these characters?" (rolls dice) I made the test! KP: You are able to find an explanation in the lingo you're most familiar with. The book is the R'lyeh Text. However, you can't glean the meaning of the the title from the kanji characters used - they were trying to represent the sound, not tell the meaning of the phrase. Sayaka: The same R'lyeh from R'lyeh Company. KP: Well, the title itself is a spoiler anyway, so here you go: the name R'lyeh refers to a certain city in the Cthulhu Mythos. It's not anywhere you'd want to go. For whatever reason, your wacky uncle decided to name his antique shop after it. However, Sayaka-chan knows none of this. Maybe she thinks it's just a big coinicidence. Tatsumi: No, that's too convenient to be a coincidence. Sayaka: Randoru-ojiisan . . . is so odd. Sasahara: What brought that on? KP: Now that you know the title, you can roll against either (Cthulhu Mythos) or (Occult). A passing test will reveal some secrets. Sasahara: (rolls dice) Well, I didn't roll under my (Cthulhu Mythos) but I passed the (Occult) test. KP: The R'lyeh Text would be of interest to a certain cult. The Text is one of their scriptures. The book describes a god that sleeps inside the city. Ways to please the god with sacrifices are also recorded in the book. It's so rare about the only place you'd expect to find a copy would be Miskatonic University, a famous school in Massachusetts, one of United States. Sasahara: This book is amazing! Can't any of you read Chinese? Miyako: So why did Nagasao want to bring that thing here? Tatsumi: I bet he found it in one of the houses owned by the older families in that failing town. I'll try to call him on his cell phone. Miyako: We also need to apologize for the theft of the brooch. KP: You try to call him on his cell phone, but no one answers. You follow that up by calling him on his house number, but there is no response. Tatsumi: What's this? KP: It'd take 30 minutes for him to come to R'lyeh Company by car. You visited him once before, Tatsumi. It's a simple house with only one door. Tatsumi: Something's wrong. He lives nearby. We ought to check on him and make sure he's okay. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Bloodstained Christmas Eve -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OST:  As you drive down the street, the shining streetlights and blinking decorations are reflected off the christmas decorations, bathing the street in a bizarre mess of colors. You plug his address into your GPS and rush off in your car. Sayaka: This is turning out to be a pretty lousy Christmas. Sasahara: All four of us are together again! We're going to get involved in another weird mystery! (lol) KP: (rolls dice) You arrive at Nagasao's house without incident. It's a fairly nondescript single-door house, but you do notice a light on the second floor. Tatsumi: It looks like he's home after all. I'll try calling the house number one more time. KP: You can hear the phone ringing in the house. You wait a bit, but no one answers it. Tatsumi: Did he fall or have an accident inside? Sayaka: Are there any shadows of people inside the house moving across the windows? KP: You carefully look, and notice that the window the the second floor has been left open ( even on a cold night like this one.) Sayaka: That's weird. I'm beginning to think that something did happen to Nagasao-san. Tatsumi: Is the front door unlocked? KP: Yes, it is. Tatsumi: He could be badly hurt. I open the door and walk inside. [Nagasao-san! Nagasao-san! Excuse us for entering like this.] KP: Your search of the first floor reveals nothing. There is no sign of human habitation. You think your buddy's on the second floor in his study. OST: Sayaka: I think we're about to encounter another monster. Miyako-san, why don't your check downstairs. The rest of us will get ready to pass our Sanity checks. Miyako: Good plan. I go down to the first floor and look through things once again. Tatsumi: We call out several times to give advance warning, and then we enter the room on the second floor. KP: You've arrived at the study door. The hallway is dark except for the streams of light coming from under the door. Tatsumi: [Nagasao-san, are you there?] KP: What appears before your eyes when you swing open the door is a tragic sight. The bed, wall, and ceiling are all spattered with blood, which has been thrown against them, and the blood has turned thick and sticky. In the center of the room are his tattered clothes, and a pile of what you can assume to be his bones. It is as if he exploded from the inside. Sayaka: This is horrible! This is too much! KP: SAN rolls all around, you lot. Tatsumi x Sayaka x Sasahara: (roll dice) We all passed the check. KP: Whaaaat? You don't lose any Sanity points since you succeeded. Tatsumi x Sayaka x Sasahara: Yippee! KP: You guys are some stone-cold Investigators. You can all look at that and not get fazed at all. Sayaka: Miyako-san doesn't need to see this. We made the right call by not having her along for this part. KP: From the remaining bits of evidence, you don't have any way to conclude that these human remains were once Nagasao-san or not. If you want to do a thorough search of the remains, you'll need to make a (Medicine) check. Tatsumi: We probably have no need to do that. Sayaka: Is there anything in the room that looks suspicious? KP: Yes. In the middle of the room is what looks like a drum. It has also been spattered with blood. In fact, blood is dripping down on it, making a tapping noise. Sayaka: A tapping noise? So is it a small drum? KP: Indeed. It's a taiko drum. And a large-headed dwarf, a symbol of good luck, is painted on it. Sayaka: I've heard of that, but now I can't remember what that dwarf figure is. What was it? KP: It's considered a lucky omen. It's a man with a head larger than his body. The lower part of the body beneath the head is sitting up straight in most of these images. Sometimes shops will use this instead of maneki-neko as a decoration. Sayaka: But I don't recall ever seeing one of these things. Sasahara: Was it normal to have those designs painted on den-den daiko? KP: Try a (History) roll for me. Sasahara: (rolls dice) And that's a hit. KP: You don't know of any folkcraft like that. When Tatsumi-sensei thinks about it, he has seen something like that before. When Tatsumi-sensei was leaving his old village, he remembers the local children playing with one not unlike what you were searching for. Tatsumi: Was it part of the history I've studied? KP: No. Instead, when you were going to Tokyo for pleasure, the kids used to rush up and use that thing. As a matter of fact, it seemed like they all had one. Maybe someone made sure to distribute them in the village. It's now been about fifty years since you were last there, but for some reason you reflect on that and start to worry. Sayaka: We really need to report this to the police. Tatsumi: True, but we also need to have a look around first. Maybe he kept a journal or diary that we could find and read. Sayaka: Oh, you're right. I'll help him look for that. Sasahara: I'll investigate the cadaver. You guys look for any clues that might provide a link to the killer. KP: That settles that. We'll start off with you, Sasahara-san. Try a (Track) skill test. Sasahara: For some reason I'm really good at that (rolls dice). Made my test. KP: Leading up to the window is a strange-looking blood trail. The footprints that made it . . . well, you could see them belonging to an enormous bird or lizard, but nothing native to Japan. In addition to that, the footprints lead up to the window and then disappear. Sasahara: [Could this be the work of the monster that attacked shopkeeper Sayaka-chan?] Sayaka: Wait, if I'd hung around that screaming thing, would I have ended up like him? Miyako: Seems that way. Sayaka: (unhappy sucking of air through teeth) KP: You guys begin to go through the room, looking through files, bookshelves, documents, and the like. Make a (Spot Hidden) roll for me, please. Sayaka: (rolls dice) Made it! KP: It's nothing so detailed as a diary, but you do find some notes he was keeping on the village he was investigating. Sayaka: I'll have Tatsumi-sensei read it. KP: The contents are a little stream-of-consciousness-ey, but here's what you get (distributes handouts). OST:  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tatsumi: How unfortunate! These people fell on really hard times. Okay, we now are sure that Irisuberi is a key point in our investigation. Sayaka: I go over the room and look for anything linked to Irisuberi. Sasahara: You should also make notes so that Randoru-san can tell you their value. KP: Oh yes, going by my records this tragedy would have happened when Tatsumi-sensei was middle-aged. You didn't know the situation deeply, but you did hear rumors of the doom that came to their house and the terrible way that Sato-san died. Tatsumi: Even the memory of my first love is tainted by the gloom of that cursed place. Miyako: It's not fun for me to keep having to listen to stories about your ex. (lol) Sayaka: Miyako-san, don't come up here! What we've got up here isn't for you to see. Tatsumi: We need to get in touch with Nagasao-san's assistant. That person was sent ahead to investigate. KP: You flip through the notepad and find the assistant's name. He is called Hado. He's a younger man with a background in history. Nagasao-san found the lad and used him to track down antique books that he later resold. Tatsumi: All right. We'll get in touch with him and then immediately contact the police. But before we do that, think. Do we need to do anything else as Investigators? Sasahara: Nah, I think we're done here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Snow-Covered Irisuberi Village -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: Tatsumi-sensei handled talking with the police and used his (Credit Rating) roll to allow the group to answer some questions and be on their way. The group then called ahead to the house where they'd be staying in Irisuberi. The group heard that Hado was apparently still in the village. However, he had stepped out when the group called, leaving behind his luggage. Knowing that Hado-san was in danger and was unprepared to deal with it, the group gathered their belongings and hurried to the remote village of Irisuberi. Hoping to retrieve the stolen property at the same time, Sayaka-chan made a rough sketch of the stolen brooch to show to the relevant parties. KP: Those of you who look at Sayaka-chan's sketch can use (Cthulhu Mythos) or (Occult) to guess what it is. Sasahara: Checking against (Occult). (rolls dice) I made it! KP: You recognize this. It is called The Yellow Sign. This symbol represents madness, calamity, and suffering - which it attracts. There's also apparently a theatre play with the same name, which apparently brings doom to any who read it or see it performed. Sasahara: Sayaka-chan has become super unlucky (laughs) Tatsumi: Let's see if I can find out more with my (Cthulhu Mythos.) (rolls dice) I made it! KP: Well done. This powerful artifact can be used to summon servants of the Unspeakable. It is a highly-sought after item. Tatsumi: Byakhee, eh? It could be a good way to assemble an entourage. Miyako: If I may, it seems like many things are going down in Irisuberi. I'm feeling less and less inclined to go there. OST: KP: Let's get you guys on the road. As you continue to drive along the mountain roads leading to the village, the area around you slowly becomes covered in white, sparkling snow. Fortunately, it doesn't look thick enough to cause avalanches, and you don't think there's any danger of a blizzard. Miyako: I have (Drive Automobile) as a special skill, so let's get there faster. (rolls dice) I got a success. OST:  KP: Thanks to Miyako's racing skills, you successfully navigate the mountain roads and get to your destination ahead of schedule. The village is a tiny little area nestled in the space between four different mountains. Covered with snow, the old buildings here remind you of the designs seen in ancient Kamakura. However, since so many of these houses are empty, there is no one to prevent them from being buried beneath the snow, as some apparently have been. Tatsumi: A long time ago a lot of people lived here. It makes my heart ache to see how depopulated this village has become. KP: You notice one house in the center that is much larger than the others. Your eyes are naturally drawn to it when you scan the area. The area around it is clearly marked with an impressive-looking fence. It's the kind of building a wealthy farmer might have chosen. The interior of the place is shrouded in darkness, and the main building is extremely wide. As you get closer, you see that it has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Miyako: Is it really okay for us to be here? This looks like the Valley Lodge of Sins. KP: The more you look at it, the worse it looks. It would cost a considerable sum to bring this place up to a standard appropriate for housing guests. Miyako: Oh well. This is Tatsumi-sensei's hometown, and we want to help him out. KP: Okay, you're all at the right spot, and you're supposed to wait for Karibe to meet you there. Tatsumi: I'll call her on the phone to let her know we've arrived at the meetup zone. KP: You begin to punch in the number into your phone, but you then notice her standing in the shade, protected from the snow by the straw roof. She was in front of the mansion the whole time. Sayaka: Why is she standing there? She'll get cold. I get out of the car, call to her, and head over to where she is. KP: (to Tatsumi) The memory of Karibe slowly comes back to you - walking in the snow, with the beat of those taiko drums in the background. She used to sing a folk song to the accompaniment of those drums. Sasahara: It's too lonely (lol). Sayaka: What song was it? KP: Umm . . . this is embarrassing, but I didn't think to make up a title. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sasahara: That wouldn't be a good song to sing here in front of their mansion. Miyako: That story of people falling on hard times? It's this place. KP: Not everything in the song has to make sense. Some of those might be meaningless words used in the song to modulate the cadence. TL Note: It's hard to translate songs. I just wrote down what was said in the song instead of trying to create a new one that matched the original rhythm and meaning. Sayaka: So like I said, I was running over to the people who came to greet us. KP: She lightens up when they sees all of you. [Thank you so much for coming this far. It's been ages since we've seen this many young people around here.] Sayaka: [It looks like you waited outside for a long time. Aren't you cold?] KP: [I eagerly awaited your arrival. I did.] Old lady Karibe says as she takes your hands and hold them. Her grip is strong, and her hands feel ice-cold. Sayaka: I do what I can to warm them up. [You're so cold!] KP: (Old lady Karibe) [Your hands are so warm. They are.] Sayaka: Wow, it's hard to pull away. Tatsumi: (to Karibe) [It's been a very long time, Karibe-san. Thank you so much for all of your assistance when mother died. That was very helpful, and it was kind of you.] KP: (Karibe) [That's all right. It is. You've done well for yourself, Gengoro-sensei. You're the pride of the village.] Sayaka: [Now that everyone's here, let's go inside where it's warm.] KP: (Karibe) [You're right. You are. I can't keep making these guests stand around outside.] Sayaka: [I was more worried about you . . . ] Notes: Karibe guided the Investigators to her house, and held a proper reception for them together with her husband. KP: (as the hosts) [This one is good. It is. Would you like a refill?] Miyako: I try to help with the set up and clean up. [Oh, you don't have to worry about me.] KP: You get the idea that your host is a little lonely for human contact - you receive a lot of care and attention, like small children. Sasahara: Because Tatsumi-sensei didn't come back for such a long time. Tatsumi: I didn't know this was part of my character background. I found out about Karibe-san the same time you did. KP: (as the hosts) [Not many people are left. We number just 15, and all of us are quite old.] Miyako: That's not very many. KP: That's barely within the limits for a village. Eventually the authorities might order people to move out. Sayaka: [Do you have children? It'd be better if you could live with them.] KP: [We have a son. He's busy at his job in Sendai. He's so busy with his work that it'd be difficult for him if we visited.] Sayaka: [No, that isn't right. He'd be glad if you paid him a visit.] KP: [He's married and has a child of his own to look after. He doesn't have the time to spare on us. It's better if we're here.] Sasahara: [If the village is full of people like Tatsumi-sensei, it's no wonder their numbers went down.] Tatsumi: [To be fair, when I was there the place still had plenty of kids. The drums were beating.] KP: [Those were better times - at least before the war. We thought the fortunes of the village would continue to increase . . . ] And as she becomes lost in thought, she begins to drum on the table with her fingers. Tatsumi: [Wasn't that around the time of the U.S./Japan Security Treaty?] Miyako: You really sense the history around here (lol). Sasahara: [By the way, what about Hado-san? Where is he now?] KP: [Oh him? He hasn't returned yet. All his stuff is still here, so I think he'll be back for it. He's probably still looking around the town.] She doesn't seem very worried. Sasahara: [I doubt that we'll find any big clues from it, but could you show us his possessions?] KP: (Karibe) [Wow, this many people are asking about him. Is he in some kind of trouble?] Tatsumi: [I'm sorry to say he might be. He was working for a man named Nagasao, and Hado-san was conducting an investigation into a certain house on his behalf. It pains me to say that Nagasao was recently found dead in Tokyo. He had been murdered.] OST: KP: Karibe hears you say that, gasps in surprise, and doubles over in pain, grabbing at her chest. Tatsumi: [Wh- what is this!? Karibe-san, calm down!] is what I'll say. (Medicine) roll coming online. (rolls dice) I failed! KP: Her heartbeat is dangerously fast. This is serious - and whatever she's got is not responding well to your treatment. Sayaka: [Quick! Was she taking any medication?] KP: Your eyes dart about the room, and your sight closes on something on top of the television. It's an older, fat TV, the kind people used before upgrading to HD - but on top of that someone left a medicine box. You grab it and notice that there are many different types of medicine inside it. Tatsumi: [We have to find something to calm her down and slow down her heart!] KP: You can find something usable out of this set of medicines if you make a (Pharmacy) or (Medicine) roll. This is the last roll you can make. Sayaka: You can do this, Tatsumi-sensei! You got this! Tatsumi: Yeah, no pressure guys. C'mon, dice . . . (rolls) I got it! I made the check! KP: You are able to quickly find the right medicine for her to take, and force her to ingest it. Her symptoms abate and her heart slows down . . . congratulations. You just saved her life. Sayaka: Oh, that's good. KP: You look over the rest of the medicines in the box. Many of them are quite strong. You think it's possible that she has some serious health conditions. Tatsumi: [I'm sorry if I'm overstepping my boundaries here, but I think you should go to a hospital and have them give you a check-up.] KP: (as Karibe) [Now that I'm this old, I'll die before I ever leave this village.] Sayaka: [Don't say that.] Miyako: Are we really all right with the idea of not taking her to the hospital? KP: You don't think that there's much a hospital could do to treat her, honestly. A look at her husband's face tells you this isn't the first time this happened. Sasahara: Time to change the focus of attention, I think. [Well, it looks like the situation here is okay. We should be checking on Hato-san now.] KP: She agrees and takes you to Hato-san's room. Sayaka: I'm worried about Karibe-san. KP: Sayaka-chan must be a good granddaughter. Sayaka: She's vulnerable. I don't want to let her be alone. Sasahara: We open up his luggage and look for clues. Are there any clues? KP: Mostly he brought clothes and toiletries for the trip, but you do notice that he had a notepad and a Chinese to Japanese dictionary. Sasahara: No such thing as a bad coincidence. Do you think he was working on a translation of the R'lyeh Text? Miyako: What's in the notepad? KP: From a cursory glance, archaic Chinese and a translation into modern Japanese. Sasahara: So, let's assume it is a translation of the R'lyeh Text. Miyako: There doesn't seem to be much doubt. Any trace of the Yellow Sign amulet? KP: Nope. Sasahara: We should probably read what he wrote down in the notepad. KP: You'll need quite a few hours to read his notes, and you'll need to succeed in an Own Language(Japanese) roll to do it. It'll probably be evening before you finish reading it and attempt the roll to pull it off. Is that all right? Sasahara: I'd like to read this as soon as I can, but I don't think we should put off going to the Tadori house - I certainly want to arrive there before it's dark outside. Miyako: Maybe Hato-san will be there. Tatsumi: Well, maybe I should remain here. I can look after Karibe-san if need be, and I'll work on reading that notepad. Miyako: If Tatsumi-sensei stays here, so do I. I'll help out Karibe-san with the housework and other chores. Sayaka: Okay, I'll go to the Tadori house. [I leave Karibe-san in your capable hands, Sensei.] Tatsumi: [You can leave it to me.] KP: You realize as you prepare your loadouts and get ready to leave that you don't know the layout of the village. Karibe's husband says he'll guide you to where the house is. Sasahara: Well, the two of us going there by ourselves would be more Investigator-like, but if he wants to help us that much, we don't have any reason to refuse. We'll have him go with us. OST:  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Dwarf Hidden Behind the Sliding Door -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: We'll handle the Tadori house scene first. With snow crunching underneath your feet, the three of you arrive at the house by nightfall. The ancient wooden mansion has seen better days, and you can sense the years of suffering and grief that have tainted it. Looking it over makes you feel uneasy, as if an unusual pressure is pushing down on you. Sayaka: [This mansion clearly has a long history behind it. I must confess, as someone who works in an antique store, this place is very interesting. Could you show me the inside?] KP: (Karibe) [You are welcome to look, child, but the owner has sold most of the valuables for money. I think it's mostly empty now.] Sayaka: [We might also find a clue as to the whereabouts of Hato-san.] OST:  KP: You start to have a look around the place and are surprised by how large it is, especially the garden. Although it's covered in snow, you can feel the stones of the garden move beneath your feet. You can try an (Idea) test. Sasahara: (rolls dice) I made it. KP: Well, the arrangement of the garden is . . . wrong, to put it another way. Whoever arranged it might not have had a good sense of aesthetics. The balance of trees and rocks is not right. In fact, the stones are too noticeable, and they overshadow the other things in the garden. Sasahara: [ Those are some big garden stones. Was arranging a garden a hobby of the master's?] KP: (Karibe) [No, no. These are the rocks that the son-in-law brought down from the mountains. The priest told him which ones to bring for the blessing.] Sashara: [The son-in-law was the one who went to Manchuria, isn't that right?] KP: (Karibe) [Oh yes. He brought some strange lore back from Manchuria with him. He became very strange after that. You know, he took his own life by beating out his brains with a stone. That's the one he used over there.] She says this after moving to your side and pointing to a particular stone. Sasahara: [That's the connection. He brought the R'lyeh Text with him back from Manchuria. KP: You realize one of the stones looks like it isn't stuck in the ground well, and that it seems to move when you push on one side of it. Then Karibe-san speaks up. [Stop. That won't do. It won't. That is a doorway that must never be opened.] She gives you a very severe look. Sayaka: [Is there something inside?] KP: (Karibe) [That, I do not know. Apparently it was an old rule of the family that lived here. Your friend Hato-san is not inside it, so there's no point moving this to look in it.] Sasahara: Now I really want to check it out (lol). Sayaka: But if we know Hato-san isn't there, we don't have any reason to look into this. Sasahara: I get it. We won't look inside until all of the Investigators are here (lol). KP: The two of you are led inside the main building. The construction is very old that it has a dirt floor. A hearth is in the center of it for cooking. You think this is the main living area. Designs of that lucky dwarf have been painted around the hearth, and the area is decorated with those taiko drums that were described earlier. The entire area is full of darkness and dust, and you feel the area is creepy. Sayaka: [Is this village famous for the den-den taiko drums?] KP: [No, the farmer handed out drums to the children of the village and asked them to play them for the grandchild.] So says Karibe as he looks around the interior of the house. Sayaka: [So that's what that was all about . . . ] KP: As you continue to explore the house, you see that it has fallen into a state of disrepair. The corridors are dirty and have mold spots. There are patches that show where the owner worked on the roof to stop rain from leaking in, and visible waterstains decorate the ceiling. This is not the kind of thing you'd expect to see on a sightseeing trip. Sasahara: [This is a unique house, but as a tourist I would . . . well, what's the appropriate thing to say here?] KP: [Your friend Nagasao-san said the same thing. Still, I don't think there'd be much profit gained from trying to fix up the place.] He has a small laugh at the end of that sentence. Sayaka: But the village inherited this place. It seems strange to ignore it and let it fall apart. KP: (looks at notes, rolls dice) Sasahara: Oh, you've done it now. I think that was a bad thing to say. KP: (That was a Psychology check for Sasahara. He made the check.) Sasahara: Were you rolling a (Psychology) check for me, oh dear Keeper? KP: (That guy is too sharp!) Yes, you realize that when Nagasao-san was looking into this, he felt he had failed with the research. He was acting as if nothing really mattered anymore. Sasahara: Was he very worried about what his backer would say if he came back with nothing to show for the project? KP: In part. There may be another reason why he felt that way. Sasahara: That seems very suspicious. Are you hiding something? KP: Well, you've stood in a filthy and abandoned house, shivering in the cold while Karibe-san shows you around the place. You don't sense any trace of Hato-san. There is only one area you haven't checked - an old fusuma (sliding panel door) that is firmly shut. Sasahara: [What about that fusuma?] OST:[1 Karibe: [That's where Tadori's grandchild is, who is weak, and can not open the door with her own strength.] Sasahara: What was that? Did she just say the grandchild was still alive? Sayaka: That's the first time I heard that! KP: The two of you need to make (Spot Hidden) and (Listen) tests right now. Sasahara x Sayaka: (roll dice) We made every test. KP: You find a crack where the door isn't totally slid into place - and on the other side is a thing dressed like a miko, in white and red. She is wriggling. There is a soft wet noise of something like a whistle, which the figure unceasingly emits. You took all of that in just now, but the glimpse was so brief that you're not entirely sure you saw a human being. Sayaka: Chills just ran down my spine. There's something in there! Sasahara: Was it a miko? Was it a miko? KP: It was wearing a red and white outfit. Sasahara: Couldn't I try to get a better look at it? Was there a gurgle or a squirt? KP: Karibe-san sees what you're trying to do. He rushes over to the door and completely closes. [You can't look at it! You can't! You'll upset Ebisu-sama!] Sayaka: Wow, it may be time for me to kick into gear. I might kick Karibe-san without thinking. Sasahara: Wait! Don't kick him! Sayaka: He's suddenly acting very suspicious. Sasahara: That isn't enough reason for you to kick him! Sayaka: [Umm, has the grandchild always lived here in this house?] KP: [After we lost the rice crop, we started looking after the child in shifts.] Sasahara: Wait, that doesn't make sense. I thought Nagasao-san's notes talked about this. He asked if the baby was a stillborn child. If he looked in this house, he would have realized the child had lived. Sayaka: You're right. This is very strange. KP: It is, isn't it? (lol) Sasahara: Okay, I think we've seen enough here. We need to talk to the rest of the people in our group, and for now I'm done with Karibe-san's amazing tour. Sayaka: I'm in complete agreement. Let's leave. KP: Okay, the two of you are heading on back to Karibe-san's house. Now the professor is going to be busy researching the notes and won't be able to do other things while he's working. What about Miyako? What will she do? Miyako: I want to help out Karibe-san with the cooking and learn about the local flavors of food from Tatsumi-sensei's hometown. KP: Then let's get to boiling and seasoning. You can roll against your (Home Cooking) skill. Avel Cuisine! Miyako: My skill is only 25 percent. I've never made a roll for it yet. (rolls dice) And I failed the test again! Sasahara: You're the type of person who makes pots and pans explode whenever you cook. Miyako: Relax, nobody can do that. KP: (rolls dice) Karibe-san noticed that you were about to pour on too much seasoning, and she stops you. [Don't use that much. If you put in just a little sugar, you'll sweeten it without dampening the flavor. Please remember this, as it'll be useful when you get married.] Miyako: [Thank you. I have learned a lot from your instruction.] KP: (as Karibe) [ Miyako-chan, is there someone in Tokyo that you like?] Miyako: [There is, but he doesn't pay much attention to me.] KP: [Is that so? Is that so? It's nice to be young and full of dreams.] Miyako: [To change the subject, can you tell me more about the folk song the kids around here used to sing?] Tatsumi: Oh, you're suddenly asking about that? Miyako: Yes, I'm interested. I bet Sato-san wrote the song. Tatsumi: Good point. The song made mention of the granddaughter and the dwarf figure, and talked about the decline of their house. Miyako: What was the song 'the following star of the night' about? Tatsumi: Of that, I know not. Miyako: [Say Karibe-san, there's a song about 'the following star of the night'. Do you know what it means?] KP: [Oh, that one. Yes, yes. That will be the next star to after the first to appear in the winter sky.] Miyako: I see. What is the name of this special star? KP: Karibe-san doesn't know, but if you make an (Astronomy) test I might have more to tell you. Miyako: My chances aren't good. (rolls dice) I failed! Can I use my keitai to look up information about it on the net? KP: It'll be hard to find anything unless you have something more substantial to go on. But if you can make a (Luck) test, you might find a good resource. Miyako: (rolls dice) I made it! KP: That would be an orange star located 65 years away in the constellation of Taurus. Many people know it as Alpha Tauri. You will know it as Aldebaran. Miyako: I thought it might have been Fomalhaut. Tatsumi: Cthugha the Living Flame hails from Fomalhaut. He Who Is Not to Be Named, aka The Unspeakable One, comes from Aldebaran. Things are settling into place. Miyako: Then that means the song is about a child being born under the night of Aldebaran. That's kind of creepy. Tatsumi: I have no pleasant memories of Sato-san. Whenever our eyes would meet, I'd feel a sense of incomparable sadness and grief. KP: Well, it looks like Miyako's dishes are going to be ready in time for dinner, which is about when you finish your initial study. Make an Own Language (Japanese) roll for me, please. Tatsumi: I'm not worried, as my (Japanese) skill is 92 percent. (rolls dice) Made my test. KP: Then I may tell you this: he wasn't working on a translation of the R'lyeh Text from Chinese into Japanese. Tatsumi: Oh, that's unexpected. OST:  KP: Instead, it's about some kind of ocean-based, ancient demon. The notes describe how to please and carry favor with it by offering sacrifices. It's hard to say the name of this demon . . . kui tai lao he, maybe? The translation stops and then says to utilize some other notes which continue the explanation of how to make the sacrifices. You find no record of these other notes. Tatsumi: Is it possible for me to research the name of this demon and find out more? KP: It says that the kui tai lao he is a preeminent existence among devils, and that he lives in the ocean. The kui tai lao he is never clearly described or given any identifying marks. TL Note: My Chinese is awful. Fortunately, someone else has already done the legwork here: The meaning is kui (demon), tai (evil), lao (ancient), and hai (ocean). (6) In idiomatic English, the phrase signifies "ancient evil oceanic demon." The character of kui (鬼) looks like a stocky form with squiggly tentacles coming out of its face - which shows that awareness of this demon must go back to ancient times in Asia. Miyako: I bet the kui tai lao he has some fundamental basis on something out of the rulebook. Sasahara: Kui tai lao he . . . ku toi ru fu . . . ku tu ru fu (Cthulhu)? Sayaka: Oh, that was it! KP: After that, the focus of the text shifts. The notes go on about considering the conditions of the discovered place. Is this for making some kind of protective charm? It becomes harder and harder to follow - his train of thought derails, his translation becomes sloppier, and his penmanship worsens. It's like he was losing his Sanity points as he was going along - which, as it turns out, he was. Tatsumi: He was doing Mythos scholarship. He did have some pages from the R'lyeh Text here that he was translating, but he was attempting to study several works at the same time. That's what it looks like to me. Miyako: I see. Tatsumi: I bet there are more complete notes on the translated version of the R'lyeh Text. Miyako: Why did he separate the pages of the R'lyeh Text? Tatsumi: My guess is he was looking for information that was split between the R'lyeh Text and Unaussprechlichen Kulten, the book about the unspeakable cults. However, without a copy of Unnaussprrechlichen Kulten, I can't know for sure. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): The Cthulhu Mythos and Stars Miyako reporting in again. My favorite star is in the constellation Capricorn. So many Cthulhu cycle dieties come from the stars. The stars are said to have some influence over them. Cthugha from Fomalhaut and the Unspeakable One from Aldebaran are good examples. It was important for us to know what star was blazing in the night sky, and (Astronomy) served us well. Once we knew that, expectations for the scenario started to form. However, not every Cthulhu Mythos diety has some relationship with a star or stars, so exceptions to this certainly exist. Now that we know the star is Aldebaran, we know it's The Unspeakable One, He Who Is Not To Be Named. To be honest, I wish it was a different constellation. I mean, it's Hastur the Unspeakable. That's one of the nastiest and most malevolent Great Old Ones. I hope we don't encounter It. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Miyako: And we don't have the rest of the notes that show what he was trying to find in Unnaussprrechlichen Kulten. We are getting a whole bunch of bad luck. KP: By this time you hear Sasahara and Sayaka-chan coming in through the front door of the house. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Thing That Peeks Into Bathrooms -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: As you the reader have seen, the group has come across a lot of information. The player characters began to compare notes and discuss what they had learned, but it was hard to decide how to proceed from there. We return to our story in the middle of their discussion. OST:  Sasahara: 'Let's do that!' - said none of us, ever. Still, I should point out that this hasn't become an incident yet. Miyako: Oh I think it has. Nagasao-san was exploded from inside. Hato-san is MIA. Sayaka-chan was attacked by a Byakhee, and R'lyeh Company was robbed by an alien. Sasahara: Hmm. What should we do in this situation? Sayaka: I feel a bit like Sasahara-san right now. We need to find a way to take care of this in a prompt fashion. Unfortunately I doubt there's any simple way to do that. KP: (You don't have to say painful things like that!) You remember that Tatsumi-sensei came up here to pay his respects. Tatsumi: I thought we were focusing our efforts on finding Hato, who has gone missing. Sasahara: That guy's a goner. I bet he's a Hastur cultist. (lol) Tatsumi: Perhaps we can use the notes left to determine how to proceed. Sayaka: But we don't have any clues indicating where we should search for Hato-san. KP: While you guys are bouncing ideas off of each other, Karibe works on heating up the bath. It's now ready. Who wants to shower off and then dip in first? Sasahara: Looks like we just triggered a flag! I bet there's going to be an event. (lol) Tatsumi: I'll go in first. KP: Okay. Who will go in after him? Tatsumi: Well, that went smoothly. Sasahara: It looks like it's safe. I'll follow. KP: It's a nice, relaxing, warm bath. Who's up next? Sasahara: I get the feeling that the men are being ignored. Tatsumi: Our Storyteller is an 'Ero-Keeper'! (lol) Sayaka: [Miyako-san, let's go in together!] (lol) Miyako: [Umm . . . I wouldn't mind that kind of thing.] (lol) KP: And while that kind of setup is extremely appealing to me, I have to point out that this is an ordinary bath. It will be very difficult for two adults to enter it at the same time. It's too narrow. Sayaka: Uuuuu! Then I'll go in first. Sasahara: I'm getting pumped. (lol) KP: The bathroom itself is made out of wood from the hinoki tree. The window itself is closed off from the outside not with glass but with a wooden lattice. It's definitely the kind of bathroom you'd see in period dramas. Miyako: All of a sudden he's going into a lot of detail describing the bath. Sasahara: There's a big difference between how he treats men and women. KP: Sayaka-chan, you should try to make a (Spot Hidden) or a (Listen) test. Sayaka: I'll try both. (rolls dice two times) My (Spot Hidden) test was a failure, but my (Listen) attempt passed. OST: KP: Very well. You hear an odd whistling sound coming from outside. Sayaka: [Hiiihhhhh!] (sweatdrops) KP: Also, squeezing in between the bars of the lattice is an awful-looking tentacular appendage. The baneful, stinking, oozing thing is the color of kelp, and it suddenly wraps around your leg. Sayaka: I don't like where this is going! I try to get the thing off of my leg and get out of there! Sasahara: Oh, now we've got tentacle play! (lol) KP: The thing around your leg is a long, slender tentacle that conclues in a human hand. The blob-like texture of its face is apparent as it pushes up against the lattice, trying to peer in on you. Sayaka: W-what are you!? KP: The swollen head of the gigantic creature is puffed up like a balloon. Although the grotesque form of it is an obscenity, you think you can see the traces of a human face on its features. Sayaka: [AAaaaaaaaAaaaah!] KP: The unholy orifice in the front of its face is where the whistling noise is being emitted. As the terror begins to overtake your mind, you realize that its distorted form was represented in the dwarf imagery you saw earlier at that old, forlorn house. Roll against your Sanity. Sayaka: This is too much! This is too horrible! (rolls dice) Oh, I made my test. KP: Oh, that's boring for me. Well, you lose one point anyway. Miyako: If you lose one point even with a successful roll, this must be a particularly dreadful being. Sayaka: Can I kick it? Can I kick it? (hysterical) Miyako: No, you should run away. Flee from this scene. Sasahara: I want to make a (Listen) roll to notice Sayaka's scream. (rolls dice) Made it. KP: You heard a loud scream coming from the bathroom. Sasahara: I don't want to miss out on a good fanservice scene! I rush into the room! (lol) Sayaka: Stop saying irresponsible things! There's not going to be fanservice! I grab a towel and rush out of the bathtub! [Sasahara-san! There's a monster outside!] KP: Karibe has heard a terrible ruckus coming from the bathroom and rushes over to investigate. The two of you burst out of the bathroom and, shocked, she pushes at her chest. [Uuuuhah!] Sayaka: Is it her heart again? Sasahara: [Tatsumi-sensei, come here right now and bring more medicine!] With that out of the way, I'll check the condition of the bathroom. KP: You see no trace of the monster that attacked Sayaka-chan. In fact, you're not even sure it was ever here. Sasahara: Looks like the coast is clear. Sayaka: What was that thing? It showed up, but didn't attack. Did it decide to go home? Sasahara: The Keeper wanted to put Sayaka-chan into a tentacle play scene. What an Ero-Keeper we've got. So naughty! I want to see more! (lol) KP: Dial it back, please. (lol) Tatsumi: This is no time for joking. I've got to help Karibe-san. I'm sure I heard the commotion, so I come running with the medicine box. KP: She looks worse than she did before. Her face looks pale and she's sweating. Could she have burst a blood vessel this time? Roll against your (Medicine). Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Made it! KP: I wasn't having you roll to see if you could save her life. This time the medicine you have on hand, and the treatment you provide, won't be enough. Your team is stuck in the mountains, far away from civilization. Any help you could call won't arrive in time. She's going to die in your arms. Sayaka: Oh no! Karibe-san. KP: You can tell that she was prepared for this day, so she doesn't seem to be in a panic. [I . . . I kept trying, until the end.] Tatsumi: I've studied medicine. I go through every procedure I know that might stabilize her and save her life. KP: As you work on her, she opens her eyes and looks over all of you. Her face is composed and peaceful. [A lot of people came to see me. Thank you for being with me at the end. It's all right. All pain passes away. Oh my husband, take me to the God of Wealth . . . ] She murmurs a bit of that strange folk song, but then falls silent. Tatsumi: It's too late to save her, but we need to call an ambulance here. KP: Her husband speaks up. [No . . . our village has a special way of mourning. The outsiders can't do it. She needs that. That is her final will.] Tatsumi: Of course, if that is what she wants. Sasahara: If I may ask, how do they do that? OST: [1 KP: It seems the villages carry the honored remains of the person over to the Tadori mansion and leave them as an offering to the house. Sasahara: That creepy old mansion? That's not good. Miyako: [She was kind to us. I learned a lot from her. I want to go and pay my respects.] KP: (as Karibe's husband) [I'm sorry, but you're an outsider. You won't be allowed. If you wanted to join the group, things might be different.] He said something strange, but you don't think he was joking. Miyako: [I could live in the village if Tatsumi-sensei wanted to.] Tatsumi: I'm not ready to retire yet. Miyako: [Sorry, but that doesn't look like it'll work.] KP: [Then you'll need to be mature and let them take her away. You'll do that, won't you?] Miyako: [Y-yes.] Sasahara: [I've been studying comparative folklore and religion. If it's all right, I'd like to observe the ceremony as part of my studies.] KP: [T-that's . . .] Sasahara: Just as planned. (Psychology) roll kicking in now. KP: All right. (rolls dice) It's hard to tell whether or not he's attempting to deceive as there's little in the way of emotion behind his actions and thoughts. That's when you begin to realize something, like a monk having a moment of enlightenment. Sasahara: Oh, I can see where you're going with this. He's got a Sanity rating of zero. Zero SAN. Sayaka: But I thought he was an ordinary person. He was acting normally. Tatsumi: Often people with zero SAN act insane and have no relation with normalcy. Miyako: Oh no! So the villagers are going to come here and bring her over to carry out a ceremony connected to the Cthulhu Mythos! Sayaka: Wait, does that mean that all of the villagers have zero Sanity!? Are they all cultists!? Miyako: This is scary! Tatsumi: But if that was the case, we couldn't let them carry out the rite. And if my friend is an evil cultist, I'll probably lose most of my hope for humanity. Miyako: Back to the task at hand: we need to find Hato-san. Where is he? And what are we going to do about the thing living in the mansion? Sasahara: Metagaming here for a moment - the cult summoned a Byakhee to do away with him. They then stole the medallion with the Yellow Sign. Tatsumi: I just had a dreadful thought. Remember that blob thing that touched Sayaka? The reason why it didn't attack was because it is Hato-san. Miyako: Then the thing at the house is actually Hato-san? Sayaka: What about the whistling? Miyako: They used some kind of cursing technique associated with Hastur to turn Hato-san into that thing. I can't remember what the spell was called. KP: There's something else - her husband gets on the phone. He needs to call the village chief. Sayaka: I'll (Listen) in on their call. (rolls dice) Got it! KP: You do hear something on the other end of the line. [The old woman passed away. Get in contact with the others. We'll be going to the God of Wealth's place tonight.] Sayaka: Something terrible is going to happen this evening. Tatsumi: While we're at it, I don't think we should forget about our inhuman Peeping Tom. I look outside the window of the bathroom. KP: Outside you don't see anything on first glance - until you look at the ground. There are tracks outside in the snow that might have been left by a loggerhead sea turtle. Tatsumi: The monster left a trail for us to follow. If we pursue, we'll find out where it lives. KP: Are you going off by yourself to follow the trail? Tatsumi: No way. If I go, I'm going with everyone else. KP: Judging from this situation, the villagers are going to be busy getting things ready for tonight. In the meantime, you are asked to look after the house and her remains. Sasahara: If this was a zombie movie, she'd come back to life and attack us later on. (lol) KP: She's not going to do that. (lol) Sayaka: So what do we do next? Tatsumi: We are supposed to be looking after her and the house. It'd be normal for us to remain here until we are relieved. OST:  Miyako: We've got a delicious slice of clue-age outside. Let's investigate the trail before snowfall hides it away forever. Sasahara: We should take the chance to look into this before the villagers are ready. Tatsumi: And there is the possibility that if we decide to wait here, it gives the cultists enough time to summon a monster to attack us. That means we'd end the game with us fleeing the village in terror. Sasahara: Oh, haven't you thought about leaving? It might not be a bad idea. The cult hasn't taken any hostile action against us yet. Might want to get while the getting's good. Tatsumi: We don't have any reason to leave the village yet. Sayaka: I'd feel bad about us leaving now. Let's take some bold actions! KP: (applauds) That's the proper attitude for Investigators! I'm happy to hear that. Tatsumi: If Sayaka-chan is brave, I can be brave too. Sasahara: Prepare your loadouts. Flashlights, cords of rope, everything you'll need. Let's head on over to the Tadori mansion! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Memories of Faraway Days Change and Come to an End -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: As the Investigators suspected, the trail of strange footprints led them all the way back to Tadori mansion. After confirming that no people were inside, they decidedt to sneak into the desolate place. Sayaka: I wish there was a way we could get a handle on what might be lurking in the dark. Sasahara: What do you mean? Sayaka: Remember that weird thing behind the sliding door? I think we should eliminae it now, preferably from a safe distance. Tatsumi: Not a bad idea. Sasahara: We make a beeline towards it. KP: Well first, you need to be aware of something. The door that you used to enter the place before has been shut and locked. A cheap-looking padlock has been used to secure the door. Sayaka: Can I peek inside? KP: There's a very small window above your reach. That could be useful for what you are trying to do. Sasahara: Okay, let's do what we usually do. I'll get down, you'll stand on my shoulders, and I'll stand back up. Sayaka: I'll use my electric flashlight to look around inside. Sasahara: And I'll look up her skirt. (lol) Sayaka: I'm going to trample your face. KP: The window looks stranger and stranger. There are prison bars on it. It appears as if they were made out of pig iron. When you peer through the window, you see a very dark room. Plastered to the walls are many sheets of paper with writing on them. Sayaka: Sheets of paper, you say? KP: Their design is reminscent of ofuda, but they are much too big to be those. Sayaka: Is anyone inside? KP: I'll tell you what you see after you pass a (Spot Hidden) test. Sayaka: This is turning into a detective story (rolls dice). I got it! KP: You can't see it, but you do sense that someone is resting in the corner. It's wearing white clothing, but you can't be sure of much else in the dark. Sayaka: It's just sitting there, right? The figure isn't moving at all. KP: It's not moving - to the contrary. It is quite stationary. It's so quiet and still that you think it might be sleeping. Sayaka: I've seen enough. I dismount and report what I saw. [There's someone inside!] Miyako: Who is it? Is it Hato-san, or is it the granddaughter? Tatsumi: What reason would they have to imprison that thing? Miyako: It follows then that there's a possibility that it's Hato-san. Sasahara: So will we unlock this and go inside? Tatsumi: None of us has the (Locksmith) skill. No Masters of Unlocking around here. Sasahara: The thing's a piece of junk. I bet it'll break if we look at it funny. KP: He's not too far off. It's a cheap, bad-looking lock. It will break if you apply a sufficient amount of force. Sayaka: That will make noise and attract the attention of whatever's inside. Sasahara: If it's Hato-san, we'll be fine even if he is startled by the noise. KP: You can use (Mechanical Repair) to disable and destroy the lock quietly. Miyako: I can try. I'm good at that skill, so I'll have that over in a flash. (rolls dice) A failure!? Oh, I end up making a lot of noise while fumbling with the lock. Sasahara: Oh no! Well, now that we've started, let's get inside in a hurry. We should get inside and have a look before the villagers arrive. Sayaka: I've got great rankings in (Spot Hidden) and (Listen). I'll stay as a lookout. Tatsumi: Please do! KP: Resting over in the corner is the form I mentioned before. You shine your flashlights over it. It's wearing a kimono, and is a withered-looking mummy. Tatsumi: [It can't be . . . Sato-san?] KP: Now that you have a closer look at it, you see that the kimono has a sallow yellow color to it - the same color as the Yellow Sign. And you remember seeing this when you were a child, Tatsumi-sensei. Wearing this kimono, keeping the sun away with a parasol, was Sato-san. Tatsumi: I move closer to check the remains. KP: She died decades ago and was left here to decay. On the floor in front of her body is a leather-like object. It looks like a face. Other things look dried out as well - the head, the arms - but the fingers and arms seem to have acquired a loathsome plasticity, like octopus tentacles. Worse still, it looks like whatever she gave birth to clawed its way out through the stomach. Tatsumi: [Aaah! This is horrible!] KP: Anyone who has had a close look at this body will have to roll against Sanity now. For Tatsumi, who knew Sato, he'll lose an extra portion of SAN. Sasahara: (rolls dice) I failed! Miyako: Oh, I've only got 27 points. (rolls dice) I failed too! KP: The two of you lose 1D4 SAN each. Sasahara: (rolls a die) I lost two points - down to 63 SAN. Miyako: (rolls a die) I also just lost two points. I have 25 SAN remaining. KP: Well, Tatsumi-sensei? How about you? Tatsumi: (rolls dice) Oh good, I made the check. KP: Wow, you're frosty. But you still lose 1D3 SAN even with a successful test. Tatsumi: Well, I'm a veteran. I've already gone temporarily insane and been committed. (rolls a die) Ouch, three points gone. I have 49 SAN in reserve. I might want to check back in later on (laughs). Sasahara: I'm not a doctor, but I bet it was the kid that cut its way out of her through abdomen. Sayaka: Oh boy . . . Tatsumi: I think I understand what happened. The bridegroom wanted children so much that he hired a heretical priest to bless his wife, but the priest used a rite dedicated to He Who Is Not to Be Named. The Unspeakable One impregnated his wife and then the baby clawed its way out of her later. TL Note: This truly was an ''Unspeakable Promise''. Miyako: That makes the most sense, given this situation. Sasahara: So what about the dwarf behind the fusuma? Tatsumi: By process of elimination, we can conclude that was Hato-san. Miyako: So that was Ebisu. Or rather, it was Hiruko. The child had no bones, after all. Sasahara: What do you mean? Miyako: That Ebisu, the God of Wealth, was born to Hiruko, the goddess with no bones, the first child of Izanagi and Izanami. Sasahara: So Ebisu is supposed to be the dwarf of this village? Miyako: That's a coincidence. The child has a huge head, which is why they keep comparing it to a dwarf. Both of the real deities are connected with wealth and prosperity. Sasahara: Still, if we look at the lyrics to that folksong, it seems to be talking about Sato-san's baby. Miyako: And the reason why everyone here kept killing themselves one after the other was that awful child. KP: I can't make a definitive comment on this, but one can imagine how badly they'd weather this horror. Tatsumi: [This is terrible! They just left her here and didn't even bury her!] Sasahara: And with apologies to Tatsumi-sensei, we can't dwell on this for long. I want to keep looking around. KP: Very well. As I said to Sayaka-chan earlier, the walls are decked out with ofuda. A drum and some very old-looking sweets are next to the dried out corpse. Sasahara: Wait, the quick taps of the drum would probably mimic the noise the child makes . . . KP: Very good. Miyako: So instead of a happy, healthy child they ended up with a thing that was supposed to bless their crops. Sasahara: Do you think it cared about being shut up in here? Was it human enough to want to play with the other children? Sayaka: Oh, how lonely. Miyako: I want to examine these papers that were stuck to the walls. KP: Some of them are pages from the R'lyeh Text, stuck to the walls with paste. All of them are written in ancient Chinese. OST:  Miyako: [Tatsumi-sensei, I think these pages are from the R'lyeh Text. Would you have a look at them, please?] Tatsumi: [Oh. Oh, yes. Okay.] Miyako: It feels bad to see him become so upset. Sasahara: Now is your chance to ensnare him. He's at his weakest point. Miyako: Yes, though that would be a bad thing to do now. So I won't do it. KP: You've already seen a translation of these things in Hato-san's notes, so you don't need to roll to understand what they say. These make reference to 'kui tai lao he'. Tatsumi: I relay what I learned. Miyako: So why is this here? Sasahara: Maybe it's to create some kind of barrier - to use the power of Cthulhu to counter the power of Hastur (lol). TL Note: Derleth wrote that Hastur and Cthulhu had a millenia-spanning arch-rivalry. Sasahara might be right. Miyako: Do the pages of the grimoire have that kind of power? Tatsumi: Sometimes the grimoires have ancient magic contained within them. Sasahara: That sounds like a line a magical girl might say. You should become a mahou shoujo. (lol) KP: Please dial it back, Sasahara. (lol) Miyako: So by invoking Cthulhu, they are able to contain Hastur to some degree? Tatsumi: I don't want to think that Sato-san's child is a monster . . . but perhaps that's what this setup is designed to do. Contain the creature. When we're done, I want us to give Sato-san a proper burial so her spirit can rest. OST:  KP: While you guys have been messing around with that, Sayaka-chan has been standing guard outside. Sayaka-chan, make a (Listen) roll. Sayaka: Oh boy, here they come. (rolls dice) I made it. KP: Off in the distance, you can hear people hitting those taiko drums. The noise is soft, but it's increasing in volume as the people draw closer. Sayaka: I let the people inside know what's going on. [Everyone! The villagers are on their way here!] Tatsumi: [We've got to get out of here!] KP: If you go out the front gate, your group might run right into them. Sasahara: Are we going to hide here in the dark? Sayaka: I don't like the idea of cutting off our escape paths. KP: This estate is huge. There are plenty of places you can hide. Although I suggest you make your move soon. You're about to have company. Sasahara: Oh, this is bad. I have a low rating in (Hide). Tatsumi: Even if you don't roll well, at least make the attempt in character. KP: Okay you guys, (Hide) rolls all around . OST:  Miyako: (rolls dice) I made it. And it looks like Sayaka-chan did as well. Tatsumi: It's good that you both passed the test. KP: Tatsumi and Sashara try to find cover in the darkness. The villagers come in in a line. They are dressed for a funeral and carrying the body of Karibe. Sayaka: At last, it's time for the climax. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Name of the Lake Is . . . -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: A funeral procession comes in. They are playing those odd taiko drums. A series of old men are carrying a coffin which you believe Karibe is inside. The extreme contrast between the layered, thick white snow outside and the stone-faced men clad all in black is like a scene out of a movie. Sasahara: About how many villagers are here? KP: In total, they number no more than 15 elderly men. Sasahara: Even if these are all old folks, I'm not thrilled about those odds. KP: They carry the coffin over to the garden stone and leave it next to the stone. Some of them begin to form a shape around the stone and coffin. Miyako: Wait a second. Are they by any chance making a "V" shape? KP: Yes indeed. Two villagers are not lining up to make the shape. Without a word, they are headed towards the main house. Miyako: This is a rite dedicated to Hastur the Unspeakable. Tatsumi: For now, let's hang back and observe. If things start to get bad, we'll intervene. Sasahara: Fifteen people. Still a lot. Tatsumi: But only fifteen. Judging from Karibe-san's condition, I don't think she's likely to attack us if there's a commotion. Sasahara: Really? Tatsumi: I want to believe it. KP: The two villagers walk over to the veranda, open its large wooden door, go inside, and come out carrying someone else. Sasahara: The God of Wealth? KP: Correct. It's wearing a red and white kimono. The two villagers are dragging it. Each man is holding one of its long arms and moving it along. Sayaka: Is that thing Hato-san? KP: They drag it over to the veranda and then open its clothes to show everyone what is beneath them. Miyako: Nuuuoooo! Don't show us that! KP: The head of the figure is larger than its body - and the arms - well, it seems as if they no longer contain any bones. It stoops to support its head with its arms and hands. The skin of the body beneath the kimono is like transparent vinyl, and you can see water and other fluids moving underneath it. The inhuman thing convulses as the drums continue to beat . . . Sanity roll time now. Tatsumi x Sayaka: (roll dice) We both pass. KP: You still lose 1 Sanity point even if you do. Tatsumi: Not zero, huh? Down to 48 points. Sayaka: I'm standing tall with 69 points. Miyako x Sasahara: (roll dice) We both fail! KP: That's too bad. For great justice, take off 1D6 Sanity points. Sasahara: (rolls a die) Ouch, two points gone. Down to 61 points. Miyako: If I roll four or more on the die, I'll fall into Indefinite Insanity again! Sayaka: Wow, are you already experiencing the San-chi-Pinch? Miyako: I don't have the Sanity reserves you do, Sayaka-chan (sweatdrops). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Hastur the Unspeakable Miyako reporting in yet again. My favorite Mythos diety is Tsathoggua. We've been throwing around the names Hastur, He Who is Not to be Named, and The Unspeakable. All of them mean the same thing. Even here at the end we're still throwing in explanations. We call It 'The Unspeakable' because of how horrible Hastur really is. Hastur's name appears in a great many stories, and the entity has a large presence in Cthulhu TRPG material. Its appearance is never clearly specified, but many believe that It takes the form of a gigantic octopoidal thing with long tentacles. The idea that Hastur and Cthulhu don't get along was proposed by August Derleth in "The Return of Hastur", but we don't really understand why they oppose each other. And as humans with a limited understanding of the cosmos, we probably never will. To return to the subject of Hastur, the god dwells in a lake called Hali on a planet near Aldebaran, but with the proper rites it can be called to manifest here on Earth. There are many Hastur cultists on Earth, so if you come across a set of enchanted standing stones in a "V" pattern, be extra careful. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ OST:  KP: As always, your grasp on Sanity is tenuous. But it's exciting to see you struggle. Miyako: I don't want to lose my marbles. (rolls a die) I only lost one point! I still have 24 Sanity points! KP: All of you did well on the last test, and no one fell into madness. It makes things a little dull for me. (lol) Miyako: Rather than hope for a tragic outcome, please let us know what's going on with our characters right now. KP: Fair enough. The freak begins to emit that noise Sayaka-chan heard earlier. All of you can try an (Idea) roll. Sasahara x Sayaka x Miyako x Tatsumi: (roll dice). Tatsumi: Got it. Miyako: Made it. Sayaka: I pass. Sasahara: I didn't pass the test. KP: Those of you who made the test realize this abomination shouldn't exist. The voice sounds like it was made by someone who had his face pushed in - it's a cry for help. Sayaka: To clarify: you're saying we instinctively hate it? Sasahara: And that is Sato-san? Someone or something did that to him? Sayaka: But why? For what reason would they do that? Sasahara: We don't know yet, but shouldn't we wait and try to see what they're attempting to do? Tatsumi: Agreed, though it's hard to know when we should act. OST:  KP: The townsfolk gather around the dwarf figure and continue to beat the drums. They begin to worship the entity, calling it the bringer of good luck. It's as if they believe it is a kami. Tatsumi: I think we know who that monster is. Or was. KP: They open the coffin and remove something from Karibe's jacket pocket. It's a series of pages - and they look like they came from Hato-san's notes. Her husband takes them and examines them. One is a different color from the rest of the pages. Tatsumi: That must be part of the translation of the R'lyeh Text. Miyako: I bet it's about that horrible thing in the kimono. KP: (as Karibe's husband) [Oh God of Wealth, we do not confine thee. Grant our humble village riches and good fortune. Liberate us from loneliness, pain, and suffering.] As he speaks, he opens the notebook. Sayaka: [Just a minute there!] Miyako: Whoa! Sayaka-chan's leaving cover to talk to them!? Sayaka: [I don't know what you're up to, but stop it at once!] KP: Why do you want them to stop if you don't know what they're doing? (lol) Sayaka: Even if I don't, it's not mistaken to say it's something bad. After all, they made that horribly blasphemous monster over there. KP: He's very surprised by your sudden appearance, but he laughs. [Young lady! You're too late! It's far too late to stop this now!] His head swings from side to side, yet his expression doesn't change. He doesn't act like the crazed fanatical madman you might expect. Sayaka: [You're wrong! It's not too late!] KP: [We can stand this no longer! We have no future to look forward to but pain and loneliness! We fought for this village and will not see it fall apart!] Sayaka: [No! What about your wife? She always tried to help her family and her village until the end of her days.] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): The Unspeakable Possessor Hello! Miyako reporting in yet again. My favorite tale is the story of the Dango. The God of Luck you see in this story is a type of creature called the Unspeakable Possessor. People who make the Unspeakable Promise with Hastur will eventually come to this state. Apparently the Malleus Monstrorum has a lot of information on these things, but I haven't read that far. The replay hasn't specified this yet, but what I think happened is Hato-san decided to try to make the Unspeakable Promise to gain something from Hastur, but The Unspeakable One took over his body. The resulting creature has a chance to cause instant death with a touch, and it gets bigger, meaning that its STR and SIZ both increase, as does its damage bonus. Fortunately, it can't act except on days that Aldebaran shines brightly in the sky. If its STR and SIZ keep increasing, could it become as big as Hastur Itself? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ KP: [You come to us from Tokyo, so you can't possibly understand. Our village is falling apart. After the war ended, we went through so many dark times. We're doing this to protect the village!] Tatsumi: Sending Hato-kun to this village was a terrible mistake. KP: [Yet the God of Luck has returned to us! We were not mistaken! And as Sato did before, we'll contain this entity and prosper from it! It will surely provide benefits to us! To the God of Luck, we offer everything! Soon it will lead us into a new era!] Sayaka: [But isn't the God of Luck just an altered Hato-san?] KP: The thing squirms, moving tentacles, and making the same noise as before. This somehow reminds you of when it touched Sayaka-chan in the bath. Sayaka: Does it want us to help it? Miyako: We probably have no way to return him to his human body. KP: (as Karibe) [Fine if you feel that way. There's no way to deal with this peacefully. Look at this!] He pulls the Yellow Sign medallion out of his pocket and points it up at the sky. KP: [That man from Tokyo tried to steal with treasure of the Tadori house! However, he was kind enough to help us bring back the God of Luck!] Sayaka: Was the Byakhee in collusion with Hato-san? Sasahara: Hato-san was a Hastur cultist! Sayaka: Even if he was, he didn't deserve that. KP: The sky darkens as a thick-looking cover of clouds develops. The sun is completely blotted out, even though it's the middle of the day. Finally the unholy reddish color of Aldebaran shines through it as the star is plainly visible in the darkness. Sasahara: Now Aldebaran is here! That can't be good! KP: The unstable thing begins to change. Up until now, it seemed passive and sad. Now it's full of rage and evil. It's ready to kill. Miyako: No, this isn't good. KP: It's as if there's someone else inside it, guiding its actions. And in this state, it's the "God of Luck" the people claimed. You can feel power emanating from this thing. Miyako: It's all over. We can't win. KP: Mr. Karibe yells in triumph. [I got everything I needed to make this work! The Yellow Sign medallion! The enchanted stones! And with the spell written in these notes, I have the full set!] That's when the thing speaks. It raises its boneless arms and fingers towards Aldebaran. The monster yells in an alien voice. [Ia! Ia! Hastur! Uuug! Uuugh! Ia! Hastur! Kufayaku burugutom bugutoragurun burgutomu!] These are some of the words it has begun reciting. Sayaka: How are we going to stop this? I don't think I can kick that many people. Tatsumi: I don't think that is the way to go. There are too many people for Sayaka-chan to fight, and I'm not a fighter. Miyako: So what's the plan? Do we make a break for it? Tatsumi: All things considered, that might not be a bad idea. KP: Before your eyes, a tremendous change happens to the village - it's as if the topography is being rewritten, or history rewound. Everything changes. Miyako: So that's their aim? KP: The ice on the mountains melts, creating flowing rivers - which begin to rush towards the village. A lake is being formed - one with a cold beauty and a silvery shine. Miyako: It's Lake Hali! Sayaka: Sorry, I don't follow. Miyako: Lake Hali is where Hastur is said to dwell. KP: Indeed! And the lake surface reflects an alien, inhospitable night sky full of dark stars. Miyako: It's coming! It's going to arrive soon! OST:  KP: The lake bubbles and churns as a being that should only exist in the worst nightmares bursts forth from the water. This gigantic form makes you feel insignificant and powerless. You think that people might die just from looking at it. Now it's time for the campaign's big Sanity roll! Put your hearts into this one, people! Sayaka: Wait, is that a god!? Sasahara: It's Hastur Itself. If we fail our Sanity roll, our losses will be catastrophic. D100 SAN loss. Sayaka: Nuoooo! (sweatdrops) KP: Okay, less noise people. We'll go in turns around the table. Quietly roll against your Sanity and tell me what you get. Tatsumi: I'm up first. (rolls dice) I made it! I passed! KP: Good, but you still lose 1D10 SAN even with a successful result. Sayaka: We lose that much even if we pass the test!? KP: You should be happy to lose that little. Sayaka: I'm not happy! Tatsumi: If I lose seven or more points, I'll go Indefinitely Insane again. This is touch and go. (inhales deeply, then rolls dice) Yes! Only three points gone! I have 45 Sanity points left! I'm still sane! Sasahara: As you're the group's therapist, it's good for you stay sane. I'm glad you succeeded. Tatsumi: Thanks, but I don't know if I can put the pieces of your mind back together after you hit zero Sanity. Sasahara: Guess I'm next. I've been batting zero when it comes to SAN rolls so the only way to go is up. (rolls dice) Made it! (rolls a die) And I only lost three points! I didn't go crazy! KP: So two of our Investigators have passed so far. This might be a good day to buy a lottery ticket. Miyako: I still have to make my roll (sweatdrops). Sayaka: Let me go ahead of Miyako-san. I'll roll. (rolls dice) Okay. Okay, I made it. KP: Sayaka-chan is strong when it comes to Sanity rolls. Miyako: All of you have made your rolls. I look up to you! Sayaka: Now I have to roll for the Sanity point loss. (rolls a die) Eight points!? Down to 61 SAN. KP: Oh goody! When you lose five or more points of Sanity, there's a chance you'll go Temporarily Insane for about an hour. Roll D100 and tell me if you roll under your Idea derived statistic. Sayaka: If I make this roll, I'll go Temporarily Insane. My Idea statistic is 75 percent! (sweatdrops) KP: It's time for your mind to accept the awful reality of cosmic horror, Sayaka-chan. (lol) Sayaka: (rolls dice) . . . I accept it. I rolled under the statistic. KP: Finally Sayaka-chan has acquired points in the Cthulhu Mythos skill! Welcome to this side of reality. (lol) Sayaka: I used to have such a pretty mind! My soul has been defiled. KP: Now let's see what kind of malady your broken mind manifests. For a while, you will panic whenever you see the color yellow. Tatsumi: I am glad she didn't become violent. Sasahara: We'd be in trouble if she started kicking us. KP: We also need to determine if she gets any Insane Insight into this situation. Sayaka: Let's see, I need to roll over my Idea roll for my shattered mind to produce this kind of Insane Insight. (rolls dice) I made it! KP: You understand from the references made to It at R'lyeh Company that this is a transcendent existence beyond the limited understanding of human beings. Humans are garbage to This. Men. Women. Children. The elderly. Without exception, all are equally worthless, and powerless before the Thing in front of you, which is a god. Sayaka: [The thing in front of us is overwhelming! We are only garbage to it! Wreeaaaaaugggh!] Sasahara: Her mind is broken! Tatsumi: Even so, she's still right. (lol). KP: (rubbing hands together) I think it's time for our main event. Miyako-san has yet to make her Sanity roll. Please do so now. Miyako: Dice, don't fail me now! (rolls dice) Aaaugh, I failed! (Everyone falls painfully silent.) Sayaka: But she only has 24 Sanity points! Miyako: It's all right. This was going to happen from the beginning. KP: We need to determine how many Sanity points you'll lose. Roll D100 and subtract that from your current tally. Sayaka: This is the first time I've ever seen someone lose D100 Sanity. Sasahara: Me too. Tatsumi: It's been a long time for me too. Miyako: This is the first time I've had to roll D100 for my Sanity loss. KP: The campaign's ending. Time to bring out the big guns. This kind of thing often happens at the end of scenarios from overseas. (lol) Miyako: I can do this! Please roll two or fewer! (the dice bounce and land) Oh no! 33 points gone! Sayaka: Miyako-saaaaaaaan! Sasahara: She's hit zero Sanity! Miyako: (apathetic dejection) I finally did it. KP: But you did well coming this far. You lasted a really long time. Sasahara: Is it time for her to turn in her character sheet? KP: Not yet. She can roleplay whatever Temporary Insanity she manifests, because that's supposed to emerge from her own heart. However, I won't permit independent action for that character. Sasahara: Ah, I see. KP: And I'm sorry, but Miyako is no longer an Investigator. She is an NPC. So for the next campaign, her player is going to have to generate a new character. Assuming your characters survive, the rest of you can decide whether or not to use your existing characters in the next campaign. Miyako: I'm sorry, but I am drawing a blank. I can't decide how to react in this situation. KP: You can act normally until you think of a way to represent her inner madness. Miyako: Gotta think of an interesting way to be crazy . . . KP: (smiling) And I have an event planned after this. Sayaka: She's whispering in the Keeper's ear! (lol) Sasahara: She's become his accomplice! We've got a Sub-Keeper! (lol) Miyako: Her madness will manifest more strongly later. For now she's got hollow eyes, a thousand-yard stare. Sasahara: I wonder what kind of event it's going to be. I'm excited. Miyako: That is a secret. Until you reach the same place I am, you won't hear the voices from heaven. (lol) Sasahara: No! Do not want! (lol) KP: So Tatsumi and Sasahara still kept their wits and can act normally, but Sayaka-chan is panicking and making a big racket because of exposure to the color yellow. Why is Miyako standing at the back, looking at the scene with hollow eyes? Miyako: Ah ha ha ha ha! You will see! I will reveal everything. KP: The cultists see their god descending. [Oh divine one, please give us guidance! Take us with you!] they plead, their eyes burning with insane devotion. Sayaka: I think Karibe-san is beyond salvation. KP: They are crying like infants. Their minds are elsewhere. They won't hear anything Sayaka-chan says. [We're going to paradise!] Tatsumi: It sounds crazy. Sayaka: But I'm panicking right now anyway. KP: He Who Is Not To Be Named perceives your existence. It stretches out an insanely-long tentacle and smashes the side of the mansion your group is staying in. Let me decide who gets a present by rolling a D20. Sayaka: Are you using that to roll for damage? KP: No, to see who gets hit. 1: Tatsumi-sensei, 2: Sayaka-chan, 3: Sasahara, 4: Miyako, and the other numbers will indicate one of the villagers. Tatsumi: (uses an abacus) That's right, we have 20 people here total. KP: We'll roll the die in the open to determine who the victim is. Sasahara: Are you a devil? KP: Oh, and Hastur-sama's tentacles have a 100% chance to hit. They always cause instant death. Sasahara: So at least one of the Investigators is guaranteed to die right now. KP: It's all right. There's a chance I won't roll one of your numbers. Sayaka: That's not all right! (sweatdrop) KP: A Great Old One has arrived. It's natural to have this kind of heartless scene. Let's see what we get! (rolls die) (Everyone gulps as the die bounces around.) KP: (the die lands) 14. (Every player sighs in relief.) I can tell everyone is relieved. One of the villagers is grasped. He believes that the god is taking him away, but the tentacle just pulls him and drops him into the gaping maw of the diety. Sasahara: He's become tasty meat snacks! KP: The other cultists raise their arms in joyous celebration, begging their god to touch them as well. [Ia! Ia! Hastur!] Sayaka: Is it impossible for us to save them? KP: Their Sanity reserves have dried up from worshipping It. They can't ever return to our side again. The death of his wife pushed Karibe-san over the edge. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notes (Miyako's One Point Service): Zero Sanity Points Miyako reporting in again. My favorite man is Tatsumi-sensei. Well, my Sanity points finally reached zero. That means the end of a Player Character's tenure and immediate hospitalization at a long-term care facility for the mentally ill. Zero Sanity represents the permanent fracturing of a mind, and so even after years and years of therapy, the character probably won't be able to work as an Investigator ever again. It's also difficult to roleplay someone who is totally insane. To regular Investigators, he is neither enemy nor friend. Including that person in a game scenario would be problematic, to say the least. However, this is part of the tools of this TRPG for adding drama and spice to the story. Now that I'm insane, it'll be hard for me to continue these chats with you. I'm switching to helping the Keeper and other players with advice. These kind of games are best played and enjoyed together with everyone. Even if I have been reduced to Zero Sanity and become a distant memory your minds, I want to remain shining until the end, like a blooming flower. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sayaka: It's so sad! KP: (picking up a D20) And now with that out of the way, let's see who's going to die next. (lol) Sasahara: No way. Let's book! Tatsumi: But where to? Miyako: If that god would bless us, I'd be able to go on a beautiful voyage with Tatsumi-sensei. Tatsumi: No thank you! Sayaka: (confused, panicked) Can't go there. What to do? What to do? Sasahara: Should we try to run through into the dark mansion to hide? Sayaka: Please, someone, take me with you. Tatsumi: Oh, that's right. The enchanted pages from the book. The ones about Kui tao le hai. They might provide some protection against It. Sasahara: Thinking it over carefully, that might be the only safe way to go about this. Every place in this village has been bad for us. Karibe's house. This mansion, etc. We don't have any other place to choose. Tatsumi: Fine. In we go. OST: Miyako: I will follow Tatsumi-sensei. Wa ha ha ha. Tatsumi: Miyako-kun is acting very strangely. Sasahara: That's nothing new. She's always been strange. Tatsumi: Well, that's true. (lol) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: All Good Things -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KP: Okay, to escape from the monstrous, flailing tentacles of the dread Great Old One Hastur the Unspeakable, your group is running into the mansion in hopes of finding a safe spot. Sayaka: Tatsumi-sensei, it'd help a lot if you could use your (Psychiatry) skill on me. Tatsumi: Sayaka-chan, please calm down. (rolls) Made it! KP: You brought her out of her panicked state. She can now think and reason normally. Okay Sayaka-chan, you're going into this dark area with everyone else. Sayaka: Oh that's right. That's where the mummy was. Sasahara: Now that you get a look at it up close, you should roll against your Sanity. Sayaka: Do not want! I just escaped the grasp of madness. KP: There's no mummy here. What are you talking about? Sayaka: Huh? KP: Your group was in here before. Now that you're back, you realize that someone else is in the room with you. Sayaka: [W-who's there?] KP: You see what looks like a beautiful woman wearing a white kimono. She looks at Tatsumi-sensei, who is next to Sayaka-chan. [Could you be Gengoroh-kun?] She speaks with a clear voice that is pleasing to your ear. Tatsumi: [Sato-san?] KP: [Yes, it really is you. You've changed. You've grown into an excellent man. ] As she speaks, you determine that her voice really is that of Sato-san from your memories. Tatsumi: [Oh! Sato-san! It's me, Gengoroh!] Sasahara: Did He Who Is Not To Be Named use Its divine power to bring her back to life? Miyako: [Tatsumi-sensei looks so happy. Who is this strange woman?] KP: However, this vision of Sato-san you see is only from the waist up. As you look down, you see entangled around her waist a series of tentacular growths like the ones the god outside has. A hideously inhuman baby clings to her, crying out [Pukyuu! Pukyuu!] It's tentacular, quasi-octopoid body coils like a pile of ropes as it cries repulsively. Tatsumi: Aaaah! KP: Time for (Sanity) rolls all around! There'll be some heavy additional Sanity loss penalties for Tatsumi-sensei. Tatsumi: That makes sense. I'm certainly shocked by this. KP: Miyako-san doesn't have to make a Sanity roll this time. ☆ Miyako: Hurray! Tatsumi: That's unusual. Miyako-san didn't have to roll this time. Miyako: I'm not happy about that, though (sweatdrop). Sasahara x Sayaka: (roll dice) We both made it. KP: Even with a passing roll, you still lose a point of Sanity. Sasahara: I'm down to 57 points. Will I be able to see this through? Tatsumi: (rolls dice) I made the test. KP: Even so, mark off 1D3 Sanity points. Tatsumi: I was prepared to lose about that much. (rolls a D3) Ouch, three more points gone. I'm down to 42 Sanity points. KP: Don't worry. If you go crazy here, you'll be able to spend the rest of your days with Miyako-san. Tatsumi: No! I will survive! I will outlast this nightmare! KP: Sato-san moves toward the window to look out. [We have beautiful weather today. Gengoroh-kun, please take me outside for a walk. So much has happened while I was asleep. We have much to talk about.] She calls you over to her. The light outside the window has taken on an ominous orange tint. Sasahara: Don't open the door! Hastur will kill us! Sayaka: It's a trap! Tatsumi: [We can't, Sato-san. We can't go outside!] KP: [What's wrong? Do you not want to go for a walk with me?] Tatsumi: No, that's not it at all. In any case, I try to calm down the situation. OST: KP: Okay then. The thing stuck to her uncoils its tentacles. A small mouth like a leech's opens up as it moves towards you. Perhaps you can serve as a food source. Tatsumi: This doesn't look good. KP: It has attached itself to you. You lose 5 Hit Points as it begins to suck out your vital fluids. Tatsumi: Ouch, that's really bad. But I won't faint or die just from that. KP: The thing sucking out your precious bodily fluids suddenly gets a lot bigger. To put it into game terms, it just expanded by 5 SIZ. It's now about as large as an adult human. Tatsumi: Aaaaugh! KP: Yayako, the boneless child of Sato-san, is now as large as its mother. The bone-white entity wraps itself around you. Its strength is terrific. Sasahara: We won't be able to last until The Unspeakable leaves. Sayaka: Can I kick it? Can I kick it? Tatsumi: Sure, why not. But I have a hunch that this thing won't be affected. Miyako: (calm voice) I'm going to open the door. Sasahara: What? Don't do that! Miyako: [I've seen how strong the bond of love is between Tatsumi-sensei and Sato-san. I will have to support their decision and serve from the shadows.] Sayaka: [Miyako-san, what are you doing!?] Miyako: [Now the three of you should go. Please receive your blessings from Lord Hastur-sama.] And then I swing the door open wide. KP: A huge blast of cold air roars in from outside, chilling you to your very bones. Sasahara: I take the pages of the R'lyeh Text off the wall and plaster them to my own body. This should work like a protective amulet. KP: Those aren't sutras, you know. Sasahara: I'm doing what I have to in order to survive. I'll put those on my body and then He Who Is Not To Be Named will not be able to see me. KP: The alien thing that is partly fused to her begins to make happy sounds, like a contented baby, as the door slides open. Miyako: [Look at how glad the child is!] (laughs) OST:  KP: The thing attached to Tatsumi-sensei that is also fused to Sato-san has decided to go outside and see its daddy. Tatsumi-sensei and Sato-san are being dragged along. Sayaka: [Tatsumi-sensei is being taken away!] Miyako: [It's all right. This is what he wants.] Sayaka: [Is that really true, Tatsumi-sensei?] Tatsumi: [No.] Sayaka: Well, I'm not going to let them get Tatsumi-sensei. I use a powerful kick to slam the door shut. Miyako: [Even if it's you, Sayaka-chan, I can't forgive your interfering with this union.] I bring my fry pan to bear. Sayaka: This has gone on long enough. Miyako-san, I'm going to stop you with my powerful kick. KP: Oh boy. It's on like Donkey Kong. Sayaka: I go all out - I'm using my (Martial Arts) skill with my (Kick) attack. (Everyone gasps.) Sayaka: It'll be okay unless I max out my damage roll. I'm gonna knock you out! (shining, intense eyes) KP: Understood. You may roll to attack. (I try to go along with my players even in this kind of confusion.) Sayaka: (rolls dice) The kick connects. And it does (rolls dice) 12 points of damage! Sasahara: 12 points!? KP: That's a huge amount of damage. That's enough to kill a normal human being outright. Miyako: It turns out that I have 2 HP left - and I probably faint from system shock after that kick. (lol) Sasahara: Sayaka-chan is terrifying. I'll stop trying to peep on her when she's in the bath. KP: Now Miyako, that's enough to calm the situation down. Calmly think of a proper ending. Miyako: Hai~. KP: Now that Miyako-san is knocked out cold, I imagine you'll shut the door. Is that right? Tatsumi: Well, I want to treat Miyako-san with First Aid. I just saw her take a huge strike and collapse, so I'll break away from Sato-san and her child-fusion to do that. Sasahara: So you're choosing Miyako-san instead of your first love? Tatsumi: No, I just can't leave her alone. KP: As you try to pull away, Sato-san regains some of her memories. She holds onto you with one of her hands, but it's a weak grasp. Tatsumi: [Sato-san . . . ] KP: [Gengoroh-kun, is it no good?] Tatsumi:[I'm sorry that I can't be with you.] And I pull away from her. KP: She has a bittersweet, sad smile as tears rise in her eyes. [And it's for that woman?] She looks sadly at Miyako-san. Miyako: I'm still lying on the floor, knocked out cold. Tatsumi: Why does she ask me questions that are so difficult to answer? KP: You ask that yet you have a high rating in (Psychiatry). Tatsumi: [Well, it's . . . it's not like that.] Sasahra: You've grown up a lot to get all embarrassed around her. Tatsumi: Shaddup! KP: (as Sato) [I understand. Gengoroh-kun, you suddenly grew up and became an adult.] Tatsumi: [More than that. I became an old man.] I close the door. KP: In her eyes, you'll remain the young boy you were when you were together. She begins to disappear into the darkness, but looks at you one last time. [Goodbye. Let's meet again.] Tatsumi: [No, we won't. This is goodbye, Sato-san.] KP: That's when the image you see changes. She no longer has a monstrous appearance. Instead, you see her as she was - a lovely young lady whose hand held yours as you walked together in the snow. Tatsumi: [Goodbye, my first love. You'll remain in my memories of those bygone days.] Sayaka: Just to confirm, the door is closed. KP: Right before you close it, Tatsumi-sensei moves to Yayako. [Go outside. Your real daddy is waiting for you.] The creature leaves and you shut the door. Tatsumi: [Goodbye, Sato-san.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: The Beginning of the End -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: As the Investigators huddled in the darkness of the old mansion, the morning sun began to shine in through the window and they realized how peaceful it was outside. Sasahara: Things seem okay. I'll open the door. (makes a slow creaking sound) KP: You can see piles of snow everywhere, but there's no trace of the village. It's as if it never existed. The Tadori estate, the other houses, all of them are gone. The 'origin' of the village has been erased, leaving behind no trace of it except, perhaps, for a small patch of darkness. Sayaka: Hastur took the village with It. KP: Yes, that was the wish of the villagers. Sayaka: I don't think that was right. KP: As you walk away from what used to be the village, the snow crunches under your feet. From somewhere, you hear the beating of that strange taiko drum. That'll be the last memory anyone has of Irisuberi village. The morning sun has vanquished the horrible night. Tatsumi: What a terrible thing. OST:  KP: Investigators who confronted Hastur the Unspeakable and survived get to recover 1D20 Sanity points. Sashara: It doesn't seem right that after we lost D100 Sanity points, we only get back a D20's worth. Miyako: I was the only one who lost D100 Sanity. KP: True, and since you have zero Sanity you don't recover any Sanity points. Miyako: I know. ( ;_;) Notes: As a result of this, their Sanity tallies were altered. Sayaka gained 9 points, bringing her tally to 69 points. She suffered a loss of two points from her original amount. Tatsumi gained 11 points, bringing his tally to 53 points. He gained four points, making this adventure a profit for him. Miyako lost all her Sanity points, and did not regain any. She suffered a loss of 26 points of Sanity. Sasahara gained 13 points, bringing his tally to 70 points. He gained four points, making this adventure profitable for him. Miyako: Now that I think about it, Sayaka made every Sanity roll. She didn't fail a single one. Sayaka: Hey, I think you might be right. KP: That is amazing in its own way. Tatsumi: I did pretty well in this scenario too. I didn't fail a single roll. KP: True, but you're still running a deficit. Tatsumi: Even so, I have wonderful dice. Thanks to these little guys, I ended up with a positive Sanity balance. Sasahara: It would have been bad if you had failed. Your character had one shocking scene after another. Tatsumi: I kept getting involved in weird stuff. Miyako: I managed to fail every Sanity roll I had to make. KP: But you held out as long as you could. Sayaka: But in the end, Miyako-san gets to go back to Tokyo with all of us. What are you going to do now? Miyako: Yes, I need to decide. I can't think of anything right now. KP: And with all of that, the adventures of R'lyeh Company have temporarily come to an end. This is the conclusion of the campaign. To all of you who gave up your break time to participate, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. (LATER) KP: Now let's hear what everyone is going to do in their down time. Sasahara, you seem the most ready. You'll go first. Sasahara: My daily life hasn't changed that much, but I've been involved in some very unusual cases. I'm going to use this experience in my writing. I'm sure it'll be influenced by these adventures. KP: Are you going to spin them into horror novels? Sasahara: First off is the historical love romance novel I talked about earlier. It'll blend history and the bizarre together, resulting in many bizarre images. KP: I think I get the picture. Sasahara: Once the manuscript is ready, I'll want Yuika-chan to read it and give me her impressions. KP: What about Tomomi-san? I think you're neglecting her. Sasahara: I'm going to sends some sweets over to Tomomi-san as well. KP: You're leaving room for Yuika-chan. (lol) Sasahara: No, Yuika-chan is my overall favorite. But because she's my fan, she's important to me for that reason. Sayaka: Oh, that's good. I'm glad to hear that. KP: No, this guy is just waiting. Sasahara: And like that, after throwing in a ton of references to my adventures at R'lyeh Company, I write the novel and send off a copy to Yuika-chan. Tatsumi: That seems nice. (lol) KP: Let's hear what Sayaka-chan is going to do. Sayaka: Until Kata Randoru-ojiisan returns, I'm going to continue looking after R'lyeh Company. Someday I'm going to be a great detective. I will keep striving for that goal. KP: That's right. I remember you wanted to be a schoolgirl detective. I completely forgot that was part of the setting. (lol) Sayaka: I'll take what I can from this experience and save it. I'll use it to listen to people's problems about my school's mysterious occurrences, and I'll solve all the mysteries! Sasahara: It sounds like you're trying to change our focus to a school setting (lol). Sayaka: As a high school detective, I can say that plumbing the depths of the school's darkness will take reasoning and fighting ability! KP: That's not too bad. I'll use that for the basis of the campaign's sequel. Tatsumi: Not all of us are high school students! We won't be able to participate! Sasahara: So infiltrate it as an experienced teacher. This'll be an exercise in education, after all. Tatsumi: I guess I could do that, but as an elderly man I'll look out of place. KP: So what will Tatsumi-sensei do next? Tatsumi: I got into a lot of trouble this time around. I bet I even got more grey hairs out of it. Sasahara: To see your first love reduced to that . . . I bet you suffered some serious trauma. Tatsumi: Seeing her dried up corpse was shocking enough, but to see her returned to life as that . . . I think I'm going to retire from lecturing at the university. KP: Oh, are you going to retire? Miyako: He got old really quickly like Koinosuke from Jubei-chan. Tatsumi: No, but seriously . . . If I had turned Karibe-san down, Miyako would still be sane. I need to work harder to deal with what's in front of me now. KP: So, will you keep doing what you've been doing till now? Tatsumi: Yes, but I'm also cutting back on my TV appearances. I'm going to devote my time to my studies. Sasahara: I understand that you want to get back to focusing on your high school life, but when you're looking after R'lyeh Company in your spare time, I hope I'll be able to challenge you to some games of shogi. Sayaka: Please regard me favorably, Tatsumi-sensei! Tatsumi: Yes. Sometimes I'll pop in for a visit. Sasahara: That's it! KP: So what about Miyako-san, who can't return to our normal, sane world of mortal men? Miyako: I'll try to live as I did, continually serving Tatsumi-sensei. If possible, I'll try to act as if I'm still sane. Sasahara: Whoa, can you do that? KP: As a NPC, it'll be impossible for you to know whether or not she is sane. So long as she doesn't do anything too crazy, none of the people around you will notice much. Tatsumi: That is correct. Miyako: I want to replace the books in Tatsumi-sensei's study with horrible grimoires from R'lyeh Company. KP: So you've become a True and Honest follower of Hastur? Miyako: No, it's not quite like that. I've become aware of the other side of reality, and I can never go back. Now I want Tatsumi-sensei to join me. (lol) KP: But Miyako, (Cthulhu Mythos) is one of Tatsumi-sensei's specialities. Sasahara: Oh, he's right. (lol) Miyako: Well, maybe I can read the books with him, discuss their aspects and qualities, and find other ones I can recommend. Tatsumi: If Miyako-kun recommended books to me, I'd probably read them. I am interested in grimoires, after all. Sasahara: If Miyako-san learned spells, she'd become even more powerful. Miyako: I don't have to worry about going insane anymore. I'm going to cast a lot of spells. (lol) Sasahara: So powerful! KP: Keep in mind that your character is not an Investigator anymore. When we see her again, she'll be an NPC. Miyako: In any case, though this is hard for me to say, I'll have to wait for Tatsumi-sensei to join me on this side of existence. Until then, I'll keep serving him. Ha ha ha. KP: Wow, one of the main characters and the closest person to a member of the main cast has become a lunatic. In its own way, that kind of ending is very Cthulhoid. Sayaka: Oh, that reminds me. Randoru-ojiisan never came back in the end. OST:  KP: Correct, but something does come to you by special carrier. It's Randoru-ojiisan's luggage, which came from Egypt. Sayaka: [Egypt? Well, that's good. I'm glad he's okay.] KP: Inside the package is an odd letter, which states that for various reasons he is sorry but will be unable to return for a while. Tatsumi: Investigators are hard at work all over the world. Sayaka: Someday I want to join Randoru-ojiisan as he looks into these mysteries. I want to be a first-rate Investigator. Oh, and was there anything else in the luggage? KP: Apparently he picked up some antiques on his travels and sent them over. You are being asked to put them on display and sell them. Sasahara: Oh, I don't think this is going to turn out well . . . KP: Anyway, inside is a statue that was found on the bottom of the ocean floor, a long dagger decorated a handle like a bird's head, what looks like a metal bucket - all in all, a very interesting set of things. Sayaka: Wow, I feel like refusing delivery of these things. KP: In time, R'lyeh Company will need to sortie and deal with other strange cases. However, that time is not today. We will meet and discuss this in the future. Sayaka: Yes! KP: And with that, thank you all again for all of your hard work! Otsukaresama deshita! Tatsumi x Sayaka X Sasahara x Miyako: Otsukaresama deshita! END OF CAMPAIGN ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtitle: Conclusion of the Campaign, Reflections and Reminiscing -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: After we finished, we went as we were over to a Chinese restaurant to eat and share our thoughts on how the campaign went. We had a real noisy banquet as we talked while drinking and eating. OST:  KP: First off, let me thank all of you for all your hard work! Kampai! (Everyone says kampai as glasses clank in a shared toast.) KP: And Miyako-san has left us to go on a bold journey to a brand new world! Kampai! (Everyone says kampai as glasses clank in a shared toast.) KP: And she even reached the achievement of Zero Sanity! Miyako: That's the first time that's ever happened to me in my time spent playing the Cthulhu TRPG. KP: Oh, I see. That's unexpected. Tatsumi: I've seen lots of Investigators, but I haven't seen that happen either. KP: There was a class event involving the achievement of Zero Sanity at one of the company conventions I went to. Miyako: It's one of the usual big and showy ways to bring an end to a campaign. KP: This time around we had a campaign consisting of one-shots, but for the last one I thought I'd close things with something big, namely the Advent of Hastur. Sayaka: That thing was very powerful. Even if we made our Sanity tests, we would still lose 1D10 SAN from experiencing that. Miyako: I wanted to last till the end~~. Tatsumi: I can understand that (lol). Miyako: There aren't many shocking last scenes on par with that one. KP: Maybe that was a little rough. Sasahara: It's really hard to roleplay a character with zero Sanity points. Tatsumi: After the character gets out of the throes of Temporary Insanity, it's hard to think of how a character will live day to day with zero Sanity points. You'll be lost until you find some kind of general principle. Miyako: I'm trying to find a way to cover for it. I don't just want the character to act in self-destructive or suicidal ways. KP: Let's change gears for a bit. Didn't it look like Tatsumi-sensei was going to be taken to Hastur the Unspeakable at the end? Miyako: That was just his past catching up with him. I saw how happy he was with Sato-san and Yayako-chan, and I wanted to help them be happy together. (lol) Sasahara: What a yandere! (lol) KP: Miyako's way of thinking is really scary. Miyako: But it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. In some cases, Investigators that lose all their Sanity immediately defect to the bad guys' side. I wanted to roleplay that kind of thing in an original way that made sense for the character. Sasahara: You can tell it's Miyako by the way she takes the seed of the idea and runs with it. Tatsumi: We really went through the wringer with this last scenario. Miyako: You really did give off the feel of wanting to go to Hastur. Tatsumi: It may have looked that way, but I was trying to save Sato-san. I had to give up on her because she would have been the end of me. Sashara: There's nothing to be gained from sacrificing yourself, but sometimes that's part of the Cthulhu TRPG too. Tatsumi: There was no need for me to die in this game, so I preserved my life until the end. KP: That was fine. It was enough for me to see you say goodbye to Sato-san. Tatsumi: If there's no right or wrong answer, I don't want to end things with my character dying. Sayaka: I like the idea of Miyako-san going crazy but still serving Tatsumi-sensei. It's scary but sort of funny and sweet at the same time. KP: I like it as well. My imagination is running at full speed thinking of ways to spin off of that idea. It's a really good ending, I think. Tatsumi: If it's all the same, I'd like to hold onto my own Sanity points. (lol) Miyako: My character's going to be an NPC in the next game. KP: More than that. She's going to be the Final Boss of the game. Tatsumi: I don't like that idea. (lol) KP: Okay, the first scenario took place in a closed-off mansion. The second was a splatter story in a beach setting, and the third occured in a frozen, old village. What did you think of the last one? Sayaka: It was really sad. I felt bad for Karibe-san's husband. He wasn't able to do anything to fix the situation. Tatsumi: The Keeper said this already, but he wasn't just a lunatic wanting destruction. He was burdened with the long-felt desires of all of those decades. KP: It was a group of old people, totally cut off from civilization, isolated and feeling the weight of time. They chose to put their faith in a false hope. Tatsumi: In some ways it touched upon some of the same ideas and themes of the second scenario. KP: Those are scenarios with particular themes and moods, so I think it's important for me to quickly get them across to my players. It serves as a guide to how to roleplay in that situation. Miyako: I think you laid it on a little too thick, speaking as an Investigator. (lol) KP: You've done it now. Reflect on your folly! (lol) Sasahara: There wasn't much for us to seek out or investigate in the third scenario. That's one thing that troubles me even now. KP: Sometimes it's fun to have a story like that as a change of pace. Miyako: I like scenarios with tons of investigation and reasoning. Those give off a clear, intellectual feeling. Sasahara: I liked the conclusion you made with Sato-san pulling him away from his civilized Tokyo life, although I wouldn't want to be Tatsumi-sensei in that situation. KP: I'd feel bad if I were a player in that spot. Tatsumi: So why put me through that? (lol) Miyako: He's been through a lot. One of his former patients became a serial killer in the second episode. Sasahara: When you think about it, maybe Tatsumi-sensei is responsible for all of these tragic events. (lol) KP: A lot of the scenarios heaped bad things on Tatsumi-sensei, it's true. Tatsumi: So was Sayaka-chan really the heroine of these scenarions? KP: The main character of the game is R'lyeh Company (the antique store). That's the point which your lives revolve around. That's where the mysteries begin that your group solves. That's the most basic theme of this campaign. Sayaka: Thanks to that, I have a consistent reason to be present in the scenarios. (lol) KP: I really did want the last scenario to have a strong connection to Sayaka-chan, but it wouldn't have worked with the idea of the scenario. Sasahara: Unless it strongly linked to Tatsumi-sensei's generation, it wouldn't have had the impact it did. KP: Now with all of that out of the way, I don't think I'll feel like thinking about other scenarios for a while. (lol) Sasahara: Still, we got to see how experience changed Tatsumi-sensei and how the times changed. Because of that, we got to have a serious ending that we'll think about for a long time. KP: Saying mature things like that doesn't fit your character. (lol) Tatsumi: At times I felt that we were being guided down a path where we didn't have to do much to win. KP: A straight up mystery in the snow-covered village wouldn't have worked. It's incompatible with the themes and feel of the place. Miyako: That's true. With all the intellectual activity of investigation and reasoning, it'd be easy for us not to experience the feel of the place. Sasahara: And I am wont do that. (lol) Miyako: Perhaps the balnace was off. I guess it's okay for us to be swept along by the tide towards the climax. Sasahara: I'd be happier if we had more opportunities to investigate and reason. That's a lot of fun for me. KP: Okay then. Tell me the story behind the dwarf's true form. OST:  Sashara: You mean why Hato-san ended up like that? KP: Oh yes. Well, if no one else will, I will. He was messing around with rituals in the R'lyeh Text out of boredom and ended up becoming one of Hastur's Unspeakable Possessors. Tatsumi: He didn't plan things out well. KP: Becoming an Unspeakable Possessor means that you become a servant of Hastur. He then used a Byakhee to take back the medallion of the Yellow Sign. That's why he participated in the Hastur-focused celebration. Tatsumi: If his Byakhee hadn't stolen the item, maybe he would have come to R'lyeh Company himself! (lol) KP: You shouldn't make light of the Byakhee. It had as much INT as a human being. Sashara: It was a dutiful, hard-working being. (lol) Sasahara: Could Irisuberi have continued to exist if it wasn't so depopulated? KP: When they came across Hato-san, they thought it was Yayako. They thought their prayers were answered at last, so they prayed with everything they had to be freed from their pain and suffering. Tatsumi: Huh. KP: Whether or not you consider them to be insane depends on your point of view. ♦ ♦ ♦ KP: And now that the campaign's in the bag, let's hear your thoughts about the entire thing. Sayaka: I liked the feeling of the third one, but the part that left me with the strongest impression was sneaking into Tsuruhashi's bloody house. KP: That's unexpected. It was such a grotesque, bloody scene. Sayaka: I didn't know what was going to happen and was focused on making a quiet infiltration into the house. In the Cthulhu TRPG, you get the sense that one misstep can spell your doom. It was intense! Miyako: The Keeper knows the best COA, but the players have to stumble around trying to figure out things for themselves. It's always tense! KP: Copy that. Miyako: Two had the most impact, but my favorite scene was the cultists carrying the old lady's body in the third scenario. KP: That was a scene I definitely wanted to include. OST:  Miyako: Between the white kimono, the snow falling, the drums beating, and so on I think it could have been from a period piece set in Japan. KP: Thank you for saying so. I am glad to hear things like this. Sasahara: I had a lot of fun in the second scenario. I'm glad I was able to save Yuika-chan. KP: You were in a pretty dangerous spot. If you had failed your (Climb) check one more time, you might have fallen into the pit. Tatsumi: I thought that I and Sasahara-kun were goners. KP: Well, now I guess that I don't want to know how the third game scenario went. Miyako: If Tatsumi-sensei had died, I would have lost my anchor. Sasahara: Maybe you could be like Yasaka Yoriko and become an evil diety hunter. Even better: you could dual-class as an evil diety hunter/ combat maid. I would have liked to see that kind of development. Miyako: I'm nowhere near that powerful! Sayaka-chan is more suited for action heroine roles. (lol) KP: What left the strongest impression on you, Tatsumi-sensei? Tatsumi: There were plenty of shocking things in the second and third scenarios, but the one thing that had the most impact was getting part of my soul sucked out by a Hound of Tindalos. Everyone else: What's that!? (lol) Sasahara: Well, it stinks that it drained away part of your POW, but wasn't that kind of awesome? (lol) Tatsumi: Because of that, my Magic Point maximum went down, and my ambition to be a powerful wizard crumbled. Sasahara: But there was a benefit to that. If you'd continued studying Mythos tomes to gain magic, you might have gone insane by the end. Sayaka: I want Tatsumi-sensei to stay the same as he is. Tatsumi: Indeed, but now I'll have to do something about Miyako-kun to ensure that's possible. Sayaka: We definitely need to find a way to defeat Miyako in our next campaign. (lol) KP: We've started talking about the next campaign. What are some themes we didn't incorporate this time that you would like to explore next time? Sasahara: We mentioned this towards the end of the last game, but one thing that got brought up was a school-based story. How about a strange event that happens at Sayaka-chan's school? KP: Herp a derp, we did talk about that. Well, I'm okay with the idea. It'd be an exciting, almost slapstick style game, and I want to give that a try. Miyako: A story with us exploring a secluded area far away from civilization could be fun too. KP: We're playing in modern era Japan so it's harder to include areas like that, and I'm sorry to disappoint you by mentioning that last point. It'd be easier for us to have those kinds of mysterious adventures if we were playing in the 1920s. Tatsumi: I want a scenario with a whodunit. There'll be a lot of suspicious NPCs and we'll have to deduce whether or not they are responsible by going over the evidence. KP: An interesting idea, but it'd be hard to do since we want to make this into replays. If there are a ton of NPCs, it'll be hard for the reader to understand what's going on in the story. Tatsumi: I guess you're right. KP: Less is more. We have to keep these games compatible with the replay format. Tatsumi: But without more NPCs, it'll be hard to have reasoning, and a cliched pattern forms where the new guy soon turns out the be a villain or a victim. KP: It would be good to include more techniques from mystery novels. Tatsumi: Please throw in more of those. KP: How about you, Sayaka-chan? Sayaka: Unlike some of the others here, I'm not a Cthulhu TRPG veteran. I don't have a lot of requests for you. KP: Ah, so? Sayaka: But all this time, we've been dealing with the footprints left behind by Kata Randoru-san. I really do want to meet him in the next campaign. Sasahara: Then we'll have a "The Search for Kataa Randoru" theme in our next game. Miyako: It'll start off with Sayaka-chan getting some kind of clue from her classmates. Eventually we'll go to the Dreamlands to look for Kataa-san. (lol) Tatsumi: Then at the end, we borrow lots of power from Kaata-san to give ourselves stat buffs before we tackle the Last Boss, who is actually the insane cultist Miyako. Miyako: And then Tatsumi-sensei finally loses his marbles and joins me on this side. Tatsumi: Why would that happen? Miyako: Because I'm going to give you a thorough brainwashing with all of the terrible grimoires I can find. (lol) KP: Thanks guys, I got a lot of good ideas. Well, until the next time we meet, thank you all for your hard work! Otsukaresama deshita! Everyone: Otsukaresama deshita! ======================= Final Thoughts ======================= Hello, this is Uchiyama Jiro. My favorite Cthulhu monsters would be the Great Race of Yith. Thank you very much for reading this far. What did you think of the adventures of the Investigators who were part of R'lyeh Company? This is my second replay book, and it follows Mask of the White Kimono. That one was set at the beginning of the Showa Era (1926 AD) in Japan. This scenario's setting was very serious and concrete. However, for this one the players made all new characters and the games were set in the modern era, and I had to make room for player characters that included a high school girl and a maid as members of the Investigator team. Even if this is the Cthulhu TRPG, there's nothing cute about having everyone on the team be old men. The players understood that and we all worked together. I was really happy with how attached Miyako-san was to the professor of the group. Her Sanity lasted for a really long time! Thanks to that, I was able to fit in plenty of service scenes for our illustrator to draw and include in the work, according to my tastes. Before you pour a tall glass of haterade and say, [But that's not the Cthulhu Mythos is supposed to be!] I'd like you to calm down. This is not worth getting upset about. In fact, because I'm not great at making sublime horror, I decided to turn things around and come up with comedy horror! On a related note, when it came time to run the Cthulhu TRPG, no matter what kind of scenario we ran, there were a lot of funny moments. TRPGs are not strictly about following a preplanned scenario, but suddenly getting into trouble, and out of the resultant ad-libs and floundering about, unexpected fun developments come into being. At the same time, warm, natural laughter begins to appear. Even in a horror game like the Cthulhu TRPG, these things are not so different. There are times when themes of cosmic horror and dread manage to get across, though. During those times of raised eyebrows, black and bittersweet jokes fly across the table as players speak with each other. That too is natural. I would enjoy meeting you at more Cthulhu-related events, but it's hard finding Keepers. There don't seem to be many around. I often hear from complaining players that no one wants to step up to the plate and act as the Keeper. Part of the reason for that might just be that it's hard to make scenarios for the Cthulhu TRPG. Because of that, all of the scenarios we played this time around were made with a sketch theme in mind. Playing with themes of cosmic horror, I came up with ideas for memorable scenes that would require Sanity rolls. If I only required three Sanity tests, it would be too easy. Unexpected truths, scenery spattered in blood and gore, surprising mysteries, I threw all of those into the pot to make my Cthulhu TRPG sessions. The Sanity roll is such a wonderful tool for setting the stage. If you time calling for the tests just right, the players will get pumped on their own. I guarantee it. That said, be sure to call for them at the appropriate times. Maybe you could use this replay as an example of when to call for them. If it's handy as a reference, I'll be happy. I think it's about time for me to thank all the people who participated in the making of this book. First of all, I'd like to give my profound thanks to the four players who always took the time to participate in these game sessions. Let's continue to have fun playing together. Let's also meet up and go drinking together! Thank you to those who read and edited my manuscript. May you avoid the scrutiny of Hastur-sama. I want also to extend thanks to Koin-sensei, who was our illustrator. In fact, I hope I can continue to employ his services as a moe illustrator of the Cthulhu Mythos. Perhaps in a doujin-like way, eh? ^_^ My profound thanks to Kagashin-sama, who handled organizing the project. And finally, to all the wonderful fans who have supported me and the Cthulhu TRPG all these long years, I give my unlimited thanks works. May you have many Sanity-rending moments in your games. Let's meet up again somewhere. Ia! Ia! Hastur! Uchiyama Yasujiro ======================= What Are TRPGs? ======================= Properly defining a TRPG is tricky business. It's better not to think of them as a program you run on a computer or console, but rather a type of a game you play together with friends. Even so, they're different from shogi or baseball. Perhaps the game of Life is closer to it. The idea of huddling around a table with friends, talking and rolling dice is there, but it is still a little different. So keep that scenery from the game of Life in your head and then blend in a computer RPG. However, in TRPGs there's no computer - just another human being supervising friends as they work together to sculpt a story into being. Within the game, players form characters and command them. In a computer RPG, the computer shows you images, videos, and text. In a tabletop RPG, the Storyteller simply describes what the players experience, and then they have to visualize and imagine it for themselves. Also unlike a computer RPG, there are no controllers and no pre-set commands. Players have to describe what they do in character to affect the game world. The Storyteller (or Keeper in this system) then relays how what they did changed the situation (for better or perhaps for worse!) I think that my explanation is growing too long, so I guess I could explain the story-making process as a bit of give and take between players and the Keeper, with idle chatter occurring as they go along. They make a story that doesn't need BGM, gorgeous graphics, or a masterful writer. So now you understand how a TRPG can thrill even without necessitating the use of a computer. In fact, you can imagine a lot without a computer, and you don't have an upper limit on computer memory that would restrict player actions. Because it's an amateur production, everyone can particpate, and a lovely story is created as a result of that participation. The Keeper can even find out what ideas and concepts the players want to have in the game and mix them in! These kinds of stories are warmly received by everyone who shared in their creation. So in short, TRPGs are something the players and Keeper create together through give and take. Even in the field of computer games, there are more and more products where players can join together in working for a goal. TRPGs are not different in that respect. Players can work together and overcome a difficult challenge and then spin that into the tale. That's a big charm of TRPGs. And so, with all of the above in mind, my friends and I labored to make this replay, where you can see the results of our game. It wasn't a novel. Instead, I set up a recorder to keep track of everything we did as we formed the story while working together. Was it fun to read about other people having this experience together? I'm sure there are people in the audience that thought so. Well, it was fun. If you think I'm trying to deceive you, please read through the book first. None of us planned this - the story just happened as a result of what actions we took. Making mistakes, panicking, getting confused . . . this story spun together like cotton candy from the actions of the players as they scurried about. Because of that, I hope you will enjoy this replay the way that they did. Imagine playing the game with them, experiencing the story they did, and have fun reading the story that way. I think you'll have a different kind of fun than you'd get from the usual kind of story. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Secret Content! Setting Up the Characters -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Illustrations by Koin, Content by Uchiyama Yasujiro -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- References Occuring Throughout the Work -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Love Quest is a reference to CWC (the creator of Sonichu), who had a "Love Quest", in which he would loiter about in stores with a sign saying he was looking for a boyfriend-free girl to make into a sweetheart from the ground-up. "Wow, what a mansion!" is a line from the original PS1 version of Resident Evil. Detective Conan is a long-running anime and manga series about young lad who solves mysteries. Like Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote, wherever the kid goes, the body count is going to be very high. Take that! is a reference to "Kore demo kurae!" (eat this!), a popular line in Super Robot Taisen Impact. The blonde lady next to the phrase 'Closed Room Murders' is Beatrice from Umineko, a witch who specialized in (surprisingly enough) closed room murders that were extremely difficult to solve using logic. "It's dangerous to go alone" is the first line spoken by the old man who gives Link the rusty sword in the Legend of Zelda. "Well, excuuuse me, princess" is a line spoken by Link in the old Zelda cartoon. "What a horrible night to have a curse" and "The morning sun has vanquished the horrible night" are lines from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. They mark nightfall and daybreak, respectively - and appear in the first and final scenarios, appropriately enough. Knuckle dragger and food-related insults come from The FP. "Do not want!" is a line from the incorrect subtitles from a pirated version of Revenge of the Sith. "That doesn't make sense" is a line from Haiyore! Nyarlko-san episode 5. Leaving suspicious messages behind is a reference to Resident Evil - memos, notes, graffiti, etc. all contain tidbits of worrisome info. "I say thee nay!" is a line spoken by Thor in Marvel Comics. "No... this cannot be!" was spoken by Count Dracula in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. "I don't care what universe you're from, that's gotta hurt" is a line spoken by the two-headed announcer during the Pod Race scenes in Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace. "You've got to be kidding me . . . this is . . .just impossible . . ." was said by Ushiromiya Battler while trying to solve one of Beatrice's closed room murders in Umineko. "Swallow your soul, swallow your soul!" is a line from Evil Dead 2. "It's a good day to do what has to be done by me" is an excerpt from Full Life Consequences. Knuckle fluffin' whatchamacallit is another reference to The FP. Master of Unlocking is an odd phrase used in Resident Evil 1. It's also a character advantage you can buy in the Nasuverse RPG. "Take is easy!" is a Touhou meme featuring big-headed creatures called Yukkuri. Melonfarmer is a reference to edited-for-tv cursing. "You captured a chinpokomon!" is a South Park reference. "Can you see that I am serious?" was on the videocassette discussing the origins of Mr. Sparkle which Homer Simpson watched. "A children's card game" is a recurring phrase in the Yugioh! Abridged Series. "Wa ha ha ha!" is a line from the opening song of Hidamari Sketch. "The riskier the road, the greater the profit!" is one of the Ferengi Laws of Acquisition. Cornetto is a brand of ice cream which comes pre-frozen in a cone. It has ice cream, chocolate syrup, nuts, and many other delicious ingredients, and so far only seems to be available in the UK. Cornetto ice cream treats were often featured in Simon Pegg movies. "Get Equipped With" is a paraphrase of words from Megaman. "Cast in the Name of God, Ye Not Guilty" is a quote from The Big O. "True and Honest" is another CWC reference. "Revel in the fact that you survived" is a line from the first in the Rurouni Kenshin OVA series of films. "Ha ha ha ! What a story!" as well as "You must be kidding, aren't you?" are lines from The Room. (As is the picture of Tommy Wiseau laughing after being told the story of a woman being beaten up and hospitalized.) The picture of the book with the human face is The Text of the Sunken Spiral Citadel (R'lyeh Text) used by Gilles De Rais in Fate/Zero. Yippee! is a quote by young Anakin from Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Slice of clue-age is Buffy-speak. "For great justice" is a quote from All Your Base Are Belong to Us. Ice Cube used the phrase "it's on like Donkey Kong" in 1992. Haterade and hater tots are imaginary snack foods consumed by haters (people who are predisposed to dislike you. Because they are haters, you can not please them or make them respect you, no matter what you do.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Final Thoughts from the Translator -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What you read through was a labor of love. I've been a fan of anime and the Cthulhu Mythos for a long time and I wanted to give something back to both communities. As a writer with a deep love of Japan, I also wanted to bring something unusual over from the country for everyone else to enjoy together. Translating R'lyeh Antique into English has given me that opportunity. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it. As this marks the completion of my largest translation project to date, I'd also like to thank some colleagues, friends, and family members of mine. May their lives be long and prosperous. Sadly, Lynn Willis left this world too soon in 2013. May he rest in peace. To Uchiyama Yasujrou, thank you for creating the R'lyeh replay series, which has provided many years of laughter, scares, and entertainment to Cthulhu players. To Koin-sensei, thank you for many lovely/cute pictures that decorate the R'lyeh series and Haiyore! Nyarlko-san. To Yasumara Yoshiro, Andrew Chittick, and Yoshida Yumi, thank you for your advice, wise instruction, and encouragement. To Mickey Barfield, my profound thanks for running so many wonderful games of Call of Cthulhu. However, I think you should watch out for creatures that gurgle and squirt. Is such a thing even possible? To Joshua Jordan go my deep thanks for many years of support and friendship. To my parents, thank you for cheering me on even if you didn't understand what I was doing. To Lynn Willis and Sandy Petersen go thanks for creating the greatest horror TRPG of all time. To Lovecraft, Smith, Howard, Bloch, and Derleth go my deep respect for creating an enduring sandbox that we enjoy playing in and using as backdrop for shared stories. To Urobuchi Gen goes my thanks for creating wonderful dark fantasy stories with Lovecraftian elements and themes. To Nintendo goes my thanks for helping to create Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, a tool I use almost everyday in my translation projects. To Thomas Wilde, I give thanks for Elsewhere and teaching me what it means to be a writer. Thank you again, and good night. - Claude Smith of heavens-feel.com, 2014
The Tale of the Dog Pure Land
A long time ago, on a night when the moon was bright and full, a man was walking on the Heike mound. He became lost in the fog. Deciding to take a break from wandering around, he sat down and started to eat, but dropped a dumpling. Racing after it as it rolled away, he ended up following it into a grave. While there, he came across some Heike samurai who were getting ready to hold a banquet. The samurai were noisy, and he was able to quietly steal some gold coins from them. When they talked to him, he said he was from the Genji forces. The samurai then surprised him. [We aren't from the Genji or Heike], they said as they removed their helmets. They had the heads of dogs, and he realized the meat being devoured at their banquet was human flesh. Terrified, the man fled the area. After escaping from the grave, the man had another shock. His form had suddenly changed - now he looked like the dog-men he saw before! When he returned home, the villagers were so horrified by his appearance that they stoned him to death.