[Author's Note: This is the log for the 1st session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]
The Armitage Inquiry Team
The game opens on an overcast September evening at Miskatonic University. The PC are meeting in a campus conference room after being contacted by their respective representatives. The PC and NPC in attendance include the following. (These are presented in alphabetical order.)
- Dr Henry Armitage (NPC) – Head Librarian. Graying and frumpy.
- Professor Leo Cuttling (PC) – Archaeologist with a specialty in Botany.
- Dr William “Bill” Dyer (NPC) – Professor Of Geology. Tough as nails.
- Sean Keegan (PC) – Police detective. Well-to-do professional.
- Dr Cyrus Llanfer (NPC) – Library assistant. Lanky hawk nosed man with a sniffle.
- Dr Francine Morgan (NPC) – Professor Of Astronomy. Not unattractive obsessive compulsive.
- Archibald “Archie” Mudd (PC) – Campus hot dog vendor and “professional student”.
- Dr Nathaniel Peaslee (PC) – Professor Of Psychology.
- Bob “Tredge” Tredgit (PC) – Journalist. Bulldog.
- Dr Albert Wilmarth (NPC) – Chairman of the English department. Blustery.
After brief introductions Dr Armitage welcomes the group and begins to explain why they have been summoned. He asks Dr Llanfer to discuss the events that have transpired over the last 12 hours. Dr Llanfer pulls a small satchel from his lap and places it on the table. After placing it on the table he carefully removes his hands then begins to speak in a soft tone. He explains the following. While explaining he often sniffles and snorts through his long nose.
Last night after having dinner Dr Llanfer adjourned to his study to review some university documents. When he opened his valise to retrieve his work a strange envelope was present in his bag. Not remembering the envelope he carefully removed it from his case. The envelope was addressed to “Dr Henry Armitage” with no address. The surprising thing is that the name it is written in Dr Armitage’s own handwriting! After some consideration he decided to call Dr Armitage. On the phone Dr Armitage suggested that they examine the envelope in the morning. Dr Llanfer explains that he could not sleep a wink thinking about that strange envelope.
At this point Dr Armitage continues the story in a normal straight tone. Every so often he stops to mist up his glasses and wipe them off. The pair opened the envelope carefully. [With that he grabs the valise and removes an scorched envelope with his name on it.] As he opens the envelope he explains the contents as he removes them carefully.
- There are four handwritten pages which appear to be written in his hand but he has no recollection of every writing them. They are stained with several substances some of which appear to be blood.
- There is a picture of a woman who appear to be powdering her nose. He does not recognize anything in the picture. In center of the picture is a strange burn mark.
- There are several rose petals and a leaf in the envelope.
At this point Dr Llanfer offers to read the pages to the best of his ability. (It is apparent that he feels his reading of the papers would not be as disturbing as if Dr Armitage was reading them.) After reading each page he carefully slides the sheet to the person on his right so that everyone may carefully examine them in detail. After the last document has been read he slides down the photo and envelope.
Dr Wilmarth speaks first. He wonders in a loud booming voice if Dr Armitage could be having a mental breakdown of some type and just written them in a fit that he cannot not recall. Dr Armitage counters in a calm voice that he has considered that. He and Dr Llanfer went to confer with Dr Peaslee earlier. Dr Peaslee expresses that Dr Armitage appears to be with his senses.
When given the right opportunity Bill (aka Dr Dyer) clears his throat and speaks. He looks out of one eye in a curious fashion. Could Henry have been possessed by some type of alien entity!?! Bill suggests that Henry AND Cyrus be watched carefully to ensure that some alien force is not altering their actions.
Dr Morgan chimes in when the time is right. She believes that it is possible that the letters could be authentic. By authentic she means that Dr Armitage could be under the influence of an ancient or inhuman bloodline. Certain “elder beings” are said to flow through time in a non-linear fashion. It could be the influence of one of these creatures.
After some discussion Dr Armitage tells the group not to speak with Mrs. Pickman about the documents yet. He will approach her when the time is right. (The university is in the middle of a funding period and her investments are critical.)
He then addresses Dr Dyer’s concern and says that he agrees. He and Dr Llanfer should be watched at all times.
Finally Dr Armitage will express that he wants to form an inquiry team to look into the situation as he cannot do so himself. This team will be comprised of the PC. They need to get to the bottom of this to assuage his fear and those of the staff.
Gathering Clues On Campus
At this point the PC begin to examine the envelope and the contents.
- Envelope – Made from a single sheet of blank paper. Folded by hand. The glue is a simple mixture of flour and water. The glue is caked and appears to be at least a month old.
- Paper Stains – Blood stains from a human and some type of animal. Detective Keegan takes the bloodstains to get tested. There are stains from two humans and what appears to be a bat.
- Tone Of Writing – Dr Peaslee suggest that the tone and corrections suggest that the writer is quite frantic and under a great deal of pressure. The various leaps in thinking suggest loss of touch with reality.
- Rose Petals – Professor Cuttling carefully examines the rose petals and leaf. The petals appear to be picked at most a week ago. They are from a fairly rare Floribunda rose variety known as “Loving Memory”. He knows of a few local nurseries on the east coast that could carry this varietal.
- Leaf – Professor Cuttling says that the leaf is from a Slippery Elm tree. They are quite uncommon in this part of the country but just outside of the city there are several groves of Slippery Elm trees.
- Photograph – Tredge examine the photograph. It appears to be from a standard black and white camera. There is no writing on the back. The center mark appears to be a scorch mark. It appears to be from a round source of heat…a cigarette or cigar most likely. The woman’s dress is of the time or possibly a bit older but not more than a few years. She appears to be wearing a ring with a black stone on her ring finger indicating that she is likely married. The background shows bits of wallpaper but nobody present in the room recognize anything in the picture.
With some prompting the PC determine that it is possible that someone could have slipped the envelope into the valise while is rested in Dr Llanfer’s office. The PC venture over to the office where they search it and everything in the valise carefully. To Dr Llanfer’s surprise in the valise the find a small flat piece of paper with some words in Spanish. Detective Keegan immediately recognizes the small paper as a cigar band from an very expensive cigar. He knows of only a couple of places that would carry this expensive brand.
The PC also start to dig up information on the people and places mentioned in the documents. Here is the information that several PC are able to collect. This information comes from several of the PC. Detective Keegan uses his high society and police knowledge, Tredge calls on the local society page, and Archie remembers a conversation he had with one of his “regulars” at the hot dog stand. (This list is presented in an order that should make them easier to follow. This data was not communicated in precisely this order during the session.)
- Austin Kittrell – He is known by Detective Keegan but they have met only once briefly. The Kitrell family came into money through oil. Austin is a known cad and womanizer without much motivation to take over the family business.
- Kingsport Yacht Club (KYC) – The KYC is a high-end private gentleman’s club. Wealthy patrician males gather here for private conversation, quality liquor, and to smoke cigars from the clubs superb walk in humidor. KYC prides itself on exclusivity. It does not allow women, Jews, ethnics, or non-whites. It was founded in 1870 by Oren Gardiner who is the patriarch of the leading family. Oren is the second generation of wealthy Gardiners. The KYC is run by Oren’s son Oliver. (Detective Keegan is actually a member of the KYC. His boat is docked on the KYC.)
- Oren Gardiner – Powerful CEO of Gardiner Shipping. Heavy cigar smoker. Member of the KYC.
- Oliver Gardiner – Self-centered bon-vivant with little motivation. Does not show a desire to take over the Gardiner Shipping position from his father. Manager of the KYC.
- Gardiner Shipping – Gardiner Shipping is a large shipping company owned and operated out of Boston by Oren Gardiner. The company was founded by Oren’s father, Octavian, who came from a humble commercial fishing business in Kingsport. Octavian started doing well and expanded from fishing into trade. (Octavian passed away several years ago.)
- Horace “Diamond” Walsh – Diamond Walsh is a high ranking mod boss who specializes in racketeering and extortion. He is in hid mid 60′s with a nose that looks like it has been broken several times. (See the picture attached to the blog post.) Lately he has been spending lots of time with his wife of 3 months, Dora Smallridge.
- Dora Smallridge – Dora is a classic beauty in her mid 20′s with long straight black hair and hazel eyes. Even though she is often wearing sleek evening gowns with long pearl necklaces she sometimes seems a bit out of place in them. Dora’s father, Elihu, manages the books for Diamond. Elihu is also a member of the KYC.
- News On The Street About The Walsh Mob – Archie talks to one of the Walsh’s goons who stops by for a hot dog. He is upset about a recent “delivery”. The latest “package” was horribly deformed with large gashes on the body’s chest, legs, and arms. The body’s arms were bound with seaweed suggesting that the victim had been extensively tortured.
When Detective Keegan returns home his butler delivers his mail. In the stack the Detective finds an invitation to the KYC. In a few days there is a dinner party that will be used to vet potential new members. The PC decide that this will be a good way to get into the KYC and investigate several of the major players. Detective Keegan uses his sway to get Professor Cuttling and Doctor Peaslee invited to the party. Tredge uses his newspaper connections to get an invitation. Archie gets a job as a member of the work staff.
Elm Tree Exploration
Before the party at the KYC Dr Peaslee and Professor Cuttling decide to walk around some of the Slippery Elm tree groves to see what they can find. After spending some time hiking around the various groves they come across a set of standing stones roughly 20 feet in diameter. They are carved on the inside with some strange symbols. Some of the symbols appear to be similar to the scratches in the Armitage documents. Dr Peaslee takes careful etchings of the symbols. Professor Cuttling feels that the site is Oneida in nature based on the nature of the markings and placements of the stones. The Oneida tribe has a history of setting up standing stones. In the center of the circle is a washed out campfire. It looks quite old. Searching the fire pit does not reveal any clues.
Contributors Party At The Kingsport Yacht Club
At this point the PC attend the party at the KYC. It is a very high-end black tie affair. Oliver stands at one of the high bar tables seemingly trying to ignore most of the party goers. If directly approached he talks in a curt but polite fashion. His mind seems like it is elsewhere.
Diamond Walsh and his wife Dora arrive at the party a bit late. Dora is constantly hanging on Diamond’s arm whispering in his ear and pointing at the other people at the party. After these whispers she drags her husband over and introduces him. It is obvious that Dora wants Diamond to join the KYC and better his social position.
At some point in the party Walsh excuses Dora and goes over to meet Oliver Gardiner. He and Oliver go into the private humidor. Tredge expertly slips over to the side of the doorway so that he can overhear their conversation. Walsh explains that he is not happy with the latest “package” from Oliver. He goes on to explain that he will not accept any more deliveries. This seems to upset Oliver but even though he is being accused by a mob boss Oliver does not seem afraid…he seems angry. After the conversation Diamond returns to Dora and suggests he has had enough of this party and wants to return home.
During the conversation Detective Keegan slips into a back hallway and attempts to enter Oliver’s private office. After deftly picking the lock he enters the room and starts searching. He finds a fairly barren room with a wet bar and wood paneling. After searching for a bit he finds a trap door under the desk. When he opens the door he finds a floor safe. At this point the sly Detective replaces the carpet and leaves the room.
As the party winds down the PC try to figure out their next move…
Date At End Of Game: September 6th, 1935