Talien's Tower
Subscribe to Talien's Tower on Facebook, Twitter, email or via the Site Feed

Monday, February 23

Call of Cthulhu: Dark City

Time Frame: 1920s

This campaign is dark, literally. It's never daylight outside. Dark City's introduction to the campaign should be insidious. The Keeper is encouraged to run at least one if not three adventures prior to this one in the same city, and have the events happen between the hours of 8 PM to 5 AM.

Scene 1: Tracking a Murderer

Eventually, the investigators will be approached to track down John Murdoch, who is wanted for the brutal murders of several prostitutes. Detective Bumstead may or may not lead the investigation, depending on how successful the investigators are in pursuing John. John is not easy to catch, as he has powers beyond mortal ken.

Scene 2: Hot on the Trail

While John is free, more murders continue to happen. John seeks out his wife, Emma Murdoch. Investigators will catch up to him there, and during their pursuit, will cross the Strangers as they attempt to abduct John.

Scene 3: Madmen Tell No Tales

By now, the investigators should be suspicious. At this point, Detective Bumstead brings up another disturbing fact: a former police officer has gone bonkers. Finding him is easy. Detective Eddie Walenski babbles about circles and reality. He eventually throws himself in front of a train, ending his madness.

Scene 4: The Truth Revealed

The investigators finally catch up with Murdoch, and Murdoch begins to reveal the things that are wrong with reality. Does anyone remember actually leaving the city? Does anyone remember what they do during the day time? This forces everyone to make a sanity check when they realize reality is not what it seems at 0/1D10. In any case, having made or failed the sanity check, they can never go back to that innocence. Murdoch's powers reveal a whole host of illusions as he uses the "Tune" spell to open doorways. The investigators will no longer fall asleep at 12 AM, and will witness the buildings change and warp. This forces another sanity check at 10/1D100. Some people may just be pushed over the edge by this discovery. The Doctor comes out of hiding to explain the real story: John Murdoch is an anamoly, and through him the Strangers hope to understand humanity. They switch personalities, positions, and terrain at will, and seek to discover the nature of the human soul by trying to turn him into a murderer.

Scene 5: Shell Beach

The issue of reality is easy to test -- if there is indeed no way out of the city, leaving it should be impossible. This makes any beach a fable. The Doctor is terrified of going there, but Murdoch insists. And what's at Shell Beach? Nothing but a cement wall. Determined, Murdoch takes up a sledgehammer and begins to hammer his way through the wall. Investigators can help if they wish. Once they break through, they discover another mind-rending truth (sanity check 5/1d10): beyond the wall is...the pitch blackness of space! Mr. Hand and co. show up, and it is then that Mr. Hand explains he has injected himself with the same personality serum that they were attempting to inject into John Murdoch, to understand him. But it has instead turned Mr. Hand, who was a souless being to begin with, into a genuine murderer. The Strangers will do everything in their power to capture the investigators, the doctor, and John Murdoch.

Scene 6: Showdown

Mr. Book, outraged at the turn of events, now demands Murdoch be imprinted with the formula the professor was originally supposed to inject into John. But the Doctor has no intentions of doing so. He switches the injection with one he has specifically concocted that reveals everything about the Strangers and their tuning. It increases his knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos tremendously. John emerges as a super powerful sorcerer, and a battle ensues between he and Mr. Book. The investigators may resort to firearms or spells to help John win. The battle ends when Mr. Book dies.

Scene 7: The Aftermath

With the Strangers defeated, John Murdoch restores water to the edges of Dark City, and turns it to face a sun. The remaining Strangers hide in darkness as sunlight permeates much of the city. The machine used by the Strangers to perform tuning is unnecessary, as John Murdoch can do that himself. The investigators may want to return home, however. There are several spells that can return the characters to Earth: brew space mead, summon/bind byakhee, create gate. If the investigators don't have the means, John may be able to create a gate. The state of Earth however, is another story -- no one knows when the Travelers created Dark City and kidnapped the inhabitants. They may return to their own time, seconds after their abduction. Or to the 1990s. Or maybe there's no Earth to return to at all, and they must live in the ship known as Dark City.
Statistics

GOOD GUYS

Tuning works like the parting sands spell. It is used to open doorways and paths through any obstacle, and both John Murdoch and any stranger can use this power at will. For a better treament of psychic powers in Call of Cthulhu, see Delta Green: Countdown. All "spells" cast by John and the Strangers are at will, require no components, and are instantaneous in effect.

John Murdoch

DESCRIPTION: John wakes up in a bathtub with no memory of his past, only fragments of a place called Shell Beach. He soon finds out that he is wanted in a series of brutal murders of street walkers. Fleeing Detective Bumstead, he is confronted time and time again with a group of men in black overcoats known as The Strangers. John also discovers that he possesses an ability called Tuning that allows him to change things, to alter reality. John must stop the Strangers from completing their strange experiments.
STATS: STR 9, CON 16, SIZ 11, INT 12, POW 17 (100), DEX 13, APP 12, HP 13, MV 12, DB 0, SAN 685, EDU 19, IDEA 60%, LUCK 85%, KNOW 95%
WEAPON: Fist/Punch: 60% 1D3+db
ARMOR: John doesn't wear armor.
SKILLS: Dodge 28%, Drive (Auto) 40%, Fast Talk 55%, First Aid 30%, Hide 40%, History 20%, Jump 25%, Listen 25%, Own L (English) 55%, Ride 5%, Sneak 40%, Spot Hidden 25%, Swim 25%, Handgun 65%, Rifle 30%, Shotgun 25%
SPELLS: create barrier of Naach-tith, fist of Yog-sothoth, impeccable throw, tuning

Detective Frank Bumstead

DESCRIPTION: Detective Bumstead is the type of person who likes everything neat and tidy. He is a lonely man. With his new case, Bumstead is forced to face the unknown, and his neat and tidy world is shattered. He meets Murdoch, a seemingly mad man whom he somehow knows is not lying about killing those women, and is confronted with his old friend's newfound madness.
STATS: STR 15, CON 16, SIZ 12, INT 11, POW 12, DEX 14, APP 12, HP 14, MV 12, DB +1D4, SAN 60, EDU 14, IDEA 55%, LUCK 60%, KNOW 70%
WEAPON: Fist/Punch: 60% 1D3+db, .45 Auto: 65% 1D10+2, 15 yds
ARMOR: Frank doesn't wear armor.
SKILLS: Dodge 28%, Drive (Auto) 40%, Fast Talk 55%, First Aid 30%, Hide 40%, History 20%, Jump 25%, Listen 25%, Own L (English) 55%, Sneak 40%, Spot Hidden 25%, Swim 25%, Handgun 65%, Rifle 30%, Shotgun 25%

Doctor Daniel Poe Schreber

DESCRIPTION: Schreber is a doctor who specializes in the study of memories and works for the Strangers. He himself is a cowardly, frail man with a weak heart. Despite his weaknesses, he proves to both an asset and the downfall of the Strangers, who trust him entirely too much. Dressed in a white doctor's coat, he resembles the mice he experiments on in his spiral labyrinth. Schreber speaks in halting gasps, and he walks with a limp.
STATS: STR 11, CON 13, SIZ 10, INT 17, POW 13, DEX 16, APP 11, HP 12, MV 12, DB 0, SAN 65, EDU 24, IDEA 85%, LUCK 60%, KNOW 99%
WEAPON: Fist/Punch: 60% 1D3+db
ARMOR: Daniel doesn't wear armor.
SKILLS: Bargain 50%, Biology 60%, Conceal 25%, Chemistry 40%, Dodge 32%, Fast Talk 45%, First Aid 50%, History 30%, Jump 25%, Library Use 65%, Medicine 80%, Own L. (English) 85%, Persuade 25%, Pharmacy 35%, Psychology 60%, Sneak 10%

Emma Murdoch/Anna

DESCRIPTION: Emma meets up with Detective Bumstead and helps him track down John. She is then told to go back to her apartment where two strangers are already waiting for her, Mr. Wall and Mr. Sleep. She is imprinted before the final showdown into a woman named Anna.
STATS: STR 8, CON 14, SIZ 11, INT 10, POW 15, DEX 14, APP 17, HP 13, MV 12, DB 0, SAN 75, EDU 12, IDEA 50%, LUCK 75%, KNOW 60%
WEAPON: Fist/Punch: 60% 1D3+db
ARMOR: Emma doesn't wear any armor.
SKILLS: Art (singing) 75%, Drive (Auto) 20%, Persuade 75%, Spot Hidden 45%

Detective Eddie Walenski

DESCRIPTION:Walenski used to be a detective, until he figured out most of what was going on behind the scenes. Now he's a paranoid, wild man. He claims that there's no way out, and tells Murdoch that 'they'll' come looking for him.
STATS: STR 15, CON 16, SIZ 12, INT 11, POW 12, DEX 14, APP 12, HP 14, MV 12, DB +1D4, SAN 0, EDU 14, IDEA 55%, LUCK 60%, KNOW 70%
WEAPON: Fist/Punch: 60% 1D3+db
ARMOR: Eddie doesn't wear armor.
SKILLS: Dodge 28%, Drive (Auto) 40%, Fast Talk 55%, Hide 40%, Jump 25%, Listen 25%, Own L (English) 55%, Sneak 40%, Spot Hidden 25%, Swim 25%, Handgun 65%, Rifle 30%, Shotgun 25%

BAD GUYS

The Strangers are actually the race known as Travelers.3 They start out as wormlike slugs in their larval stage, and only during this time are they mobile. These particular Travelers are only capable of inhabiting dead bodies, not living ones. Once inside, they spread filaments of nerve endings throughout the corpse's body, animating it for their own dark purposes. They can speak English through these corpses, but when communicating with each other they use a bizarre chattering language, which mimicks the insect-like mandibles the Travelers normally communicate with. This particular form of Traveler has four levels of development. Mr. Sleep represents the first stage after larval development, Mr. Hand represents the second stage, and Mr. Book represents the third stage. While Mr. Book is the only one to have reached such a level of power, and Mr. Sleep appears to be a rarity, Mr. Hand's level of development is quite common. Invaded corpses lose all their body hair and the skin turns dead white. They do have one weakness: water burns their flesh as if it were a very strong acid (1D6 damage/round). They also dislike sunlight, but that's not a problem for them in Dark City.

Why are the Travelers doing all this? Because their world has died, and their race is dying. Mr. Sleep is the youngest of them, and there are no larval stages left. By tinkering with what makes humanity tick, they hope to discover the core essence of the human soul, and by doing so evolve into a higher stage of being and save their race.

Mr. Book

DESCRIPTION: Mr. Book, leader of the Strangers, is even colder and unfeeling than the rest of them. He's commanding, and willing to bring John back at all costs. He is, perhaps, the most powerful stranger.
STATS: STR 17, CON 25, SIZ 13, INT 48, POW 30, DEX 7, MV 12/Fly 6, HP 15, DB +1D4
SPELLS: cloud memory, create barrier of Naach-tith, dominate, enthrall victim, fist of Yog-sothoth, implant suggestion, impeccable throw, tuning
WEAPON: 70% Fighting knife, damage 1D4+2+db
ARMOR: 1 point from Leather trenchcoat
HP REGEN: 1D10
SAN LOSS: 0/1D6

Mr. Hand

DESCRIPTION: Mr. Hand starts out as cold and emotionless as the rest of his kind, but to be able to track John down better, he has the Doctor "imprint" him with John's memories. This act twists Mr. Hand's priorities, and he soon becomes the murderer that John was meant to be. Mr. Hand finally confesses to John that he had just wanted to know what it was like, being human.
STATS: STR 17, CON 22, SIZ 13, INT 42, POW 24, DEX 7, MV 12/Fly 6, HP 15, DB +1D4
SPELLS: cloud memory, dominate, enthrall victim, implant suggestion, tuning
WEAPON: 70% Fighting knife, damage 1D4+2+db
ARMOR: 1 point from Leather trenchcoat
HP REGEN: 1D8
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4

Mr. Wall

DESCRIPTION: Mr. Hand's right hand man, so to speak. Mr. Wall despises what Mr. Hand's done to himself, and is for the most part impatient with Mr. Hand's new instincts.
STATS: STR 17, CON 22, SIZ 13, INT 42, POW 24, DEX 7, MV 12/Fly 6, HP 15, DB +1D4
SPELLS: cloud memory, dominate, enthrall victim, implant suggestion, tuning
WEAPON: 70% Fighting knife, damage 1D4+2+db
ARMOR: 1 point from Leather trenchcoat
HP REGEN: 1D8
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4

Mr. Sleep

DESCRIPTION: The diminutive Stranger, and the only one who inhabits a child. Mr. Sleep is almost feral, and isn't above biting and giggling to himself.
STATS: STR 17, CON 20, SIZ 10, INT 36, POW 18, DEX 7, MV 12/Fly 6, HP 13, DB +1D4
WEAPON: 70% Fighting knife, damage 1D4+2+db
ARMOR: 1 point from Leather trenchcoat
HP REGEN: 1D6+2
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4
Resources

Books

  • Dark City: A Novel -- Frank Lauria; Mass Market Paperback

Movies

  • Dark City (1998) -- Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland; DVD Snap Case
  • Dark City (1998) -- Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland; VHS Widescreen
  • Dark City (1998) -- Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland; VHS

Music

  • Dark City: Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture [SOUNDTRACK] -- Trevor Jones; Audio CD

Role-Playing Games

  1. Call of Cthulhu (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game) -- Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis (Editor); Paperback
  2. The Creature Companion (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game) -- Ken Hite; Paperback
  3. The 1920S Investigator's Companion: A Core Game Book for Players; Paperback
Links

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 9:49 PM


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home