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Archive for the ‘The Armitage Files News’

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #2 – Session #6 – Travelling Side Show Freaks

September 08, 2012 By: John Taber Category: Games, The Armitage Files News

Clyde Beatty CircusDate At Start Of Game: September 10th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 6th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]

Analyzing Document 2

After questioning Oren Gardiner and the Walsh’s the PC examine the second document from Professor Armitage. They determine the following after examining the physical evidence.

  • Paper – Four sheets of college ruled sheets used by Dr Armitage and Dr Llanfer on a regular basis. Can be commonly purchased at any stationary store.
  • Ink – Also standard. Appears that it could be from a pen that is sitting on Dr Armitage’s desk.
  • Content – Not hurried. Appears well thought out and strong. Shows no signs of “mental agitation” as did the previous document.
  • Blood Stains – Not enough of a sample to test.
  • Sun Pendent – Small charm like one that might be on a fine chain or bracelet. Made of tin coated with gold paint. There is no markings at all on the object. The sun symbol does not have any occult significance.

After examining the physical evidence Leo and Professor Peaslee start researching the Tears Of Azazoth in the Miskatonic University Orne Library. As Doctor Llanfer is the assistant librarian he offers to help in the research. Surprisingly after only a few minutes Doctor Llanfer returns saying that they do no have a copy of the book and very little references to it. Noticing that Doctor Llanfer seems to be subtly misdirecting their work the PC ask him about it. By bringing up Professor Armitage Doctor Peaslee gets Doctor Llanfer to confess. The Orne Library DID have a copy of the Tears Of Azazoth in the private stacks. About 6 weeks ago Professor Armitage came to Doctor Llanfer and simply told him to remove it from the card catalog. Doctor Llanfer asks the PC to not bring it up with Professor Armitage for feat that is may upset him. By researching using books in the private stacks the PC are able to determine the following facts about the Tears Of Azazoth:

  • Physical Description – Taken from a journal entry written by a 6th century English priest. – Covers are comprised of a thin black substance possessing the flexibility of onion skin. In the center of the cover is a strange symbol painted with a luminescent substance. The symbol is asymmetrical in nature but is somehow disturbing to the eye. The pages themselves are pristine white and the ink appears to be freshly applied as if it is still wet. The book is written in Latin.
  • Supposed History – From some obscure German folk song lyrics in the 1850’s. – Some believe that the tome is a spontaneously generated physical realization of Azazoth’s insane consciousness. It materializes to tempt readers into irrevocable madness. It erupts into this plane as a harbinger of foreboding times. Some say its arrival signals the return of R’ley’s rise from the ocean depths.

Finally Leo and Professor Peaslee hold a private meeting with Professor Armitage. They ask him about the Tears Of Azazoth. He tells them that he has a nagging feeling he has heard of the tome but cannot place it. When they ask him about the event that was relayed by Doctor Llanfer he simply stares blankly ahead. After some study Professor Peaslee determines that there is a gap in his memory during this time. With that the PC decide to visit King’s Books to ask some questions.

Investigating The Helping Hands

Detective Keegan and Tredge decide to investigate the lead related to The Helping Hands. The Helping Hands is run by Pastor Murphy of St Joseph’s Church in Arkham. Father Murphy is a strict Irish priest who Detective Keegan knows well. As Tredge and the Detective enter the church proper they observe a priest that Detective Keegan does not know working in the nave. The smaller olive skinned man introduces himself as Father Nunzio. Father Nunzio finds Pastor Murphy and brings him to the PC. After Father Murphy arrives and warmly greets the PC Father Nunzio continues his work. The PC explain that they need information about the Helping Hands program. Pastor Murphy explains that it is an outreach program for local hobos. On certain days of the week they provide some shelter, warm clothes, and food for the homeless. Detective Keegan then asks if there are other Helping Hands chapters. The Pastor explains that there is a small chapter in Dunwich as well. This chapter is run by Father Coleman. With that the Detective says that they plan to visit and wonders if there is a care package they can deliver. The Pastor calls to Father Nunzio who nervously drops a glass candle then shuffles off to gather the suppliers.

At this point Tredge speaks with Father Nunzio while helping him clean up the glass. Tredge informs Father Nunzio that they suspect their might be wrong doing in the Helping Hands organization. When he presses the young father about the situation he reveals that sometimes he is not comfortable with the way Pastor Murphy runs the church but that it is something that he must address. As Tredge presses for details Father Nunzio seems troubled and fearful; he will not divulge anything more.

While having a drink after the meeting Detective Keegan asks about the new priest. Pastor Murphy explains that Father Nunzio has been with the parish for only a couple of weeks. He has recently returned from an relief expedition in Venezuela. After this meeting Tredge and the Detective drive to Dunwich to speak with Father Coleman.

King’s Books

King’s Books is a small bookstore run by Milton King. The entire store is literally two long rectangular rooms. The both rooms feature a center table and walls with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are lined with books. Books are loosely arranged by type then author. A quick perusal determines that the focus is on history and the occult. There are also significant sections with older books in various languages. Collector editions are found in the back room in a small glass case. A beat up red velvet curtain replaces a doorway in the very back of the shop. It is in this area that Milton keeps books that he has earmarked for certain customers. The only resident other than Milton is a large white macaw named Principessa (aka Princess in Italian). Milton King is in his mid 50’s with olive skin and a balding head which he keeps covered with a beret. He sweats profusely even if it is cool in the shop and is often seen wiping his head with a handkerchief. Milton is a friendly shop keeper. He greats guests with a warm smile and after the look over their shelves he will ask if they need any help.

The PC make a couple of visits to King’s Books over the course of the adventure. Archie makes the first trip to the store. He pretends to be a courier for Oliver Gardiner to see if there are any books waiting for him. Milton admits that Oliver is a customer but lets him know that he does not have any books for him right now.

Later Leo and Professor Peaslee go to the bookstore. Professor Peaslee is a regular customer and is greeted with a friendly “bon journo” from Milton. After looking at some books the pair approach Milton. They first ask if he has heard of the Tears Of Azazoth. He thinks for a bit and seems a bit twitchy but says that the has not heard of it. The pair then asks about Oliver Gardiner. They suggest that they are looking for books that Oliver might be interested in acquiring. Milton confirms that they mean “Dagon”? They assent and he says that he will look for anything additional that might hit the market. Milton then shows Professor Peaslee a copy of a personal journal that belonged to Alistair Crowley. According to Milton the book has notes that would later become part of his other published works. Even though the price of the book is extravagant Professor Peaslee agrees to buy the book due to it significance to the field of the occult. With that the pair gather up Archie and decide to investigate the circus.

A Trip To Dunwich And The Haunted Saw Mill

After speaking with the priests at St Joseph’s Church in Arkham, Detective Keegan and Tredge drive to Dunwich. In Dunwich the PC speak with Father Coleman at the Knotty Pine Church. Father Coleman is a balding man in his mid 40’s. He accepts the package from the PC then answers their questions about the local Helping Hands efforts. On prompting Father Coleman tells the PC that he does sometimes use a barn behind his church for Helping Hands meetings. The PC meticulously search the barn but do not find anything unusual. At this point the PC decide to ask around Dunwich.

At the corner store they meet a crazy shopkeeper named Martha. Martha explains that last night while walking her dog she heard something that sounded like sawing coming from the old sawmill. When Tredge and the Detective ask more about the sawmill she explains that when the sawmill opened in the early 1800’s two boys were killed on the site. After a month of accidents the mill closed. She is SURE it is haunted! She also tells the PC that they should speak with Harold Bishop. Harold is working on a novel about the history of Dunwich and he may have more information about the sawmill.

At this point the PC drive up a cold dirt road to the sawmill. At the site is a small two story house and the main mill building. Both are boarded up. At the sawmill there are loose boards on the main door. Detective Keegan grabs a shotgun then gives a second one to Tredge. The pair then carefully enter the building. On the main floor is a conveyor belt and the saw blades set in a wooden frame. There are stairs leading to a walkway and an office over the conveyor belt. Carefully the PC scale the staircase with the intent of punching off some boards on the upstairs windows to let in some light. At the top of the stairs Detective Keegan hands the flashlight to Tredge while he pounds out some boards using the butt of his shotgun. As Tredge pans the flashlight around the walkway he sees a small boy. The small boy turns showing that most of his torso on one side has been sawed off! His organs begin to ooze out onto the walkway floor! Tredge quickly alerts the Detective but when they turn the boy is gone and there is no blood on the floor. After quickly searching the office the pair decide that it best that they leave and return with the rest of the group. As they are leaving the sawmill the Detective catches a glimpse of something glinting on the saw blades. As he approaches he spies blood dripping down the immaculately clean saw blades! At the point they beat a hasty retreat.

At the bottom of the hill is a truck blocking the roadway. There are three large country boys waiting with clubs. Stopping a bit up the hill Detective Keegan grabs his shotgun then confronts the country boys. Upon spotting the shotgun they jump into their truck and head off. The Detective chases them in his car. After only a mile or so the truck drives up a winding dirt road. After only travelling a short distance the truck goes through a wooden fence. One of the boys jumps out and shuts the fence. At this point Tredge and Detective Keegan turn around and head back to Dunwich. Father Keegan tells them that the boys are the Whatley’s. They run some orchards just north of town. The Whatley’s are not too bright. Their family has been in Dunwich for many years. At this point the PCs return to Arkham.

The Clyde Beatty Circus

At the Arkham Fairgrounds the PC drive up to the Clyde Beatty Circus to start investigating. They first enter the freak side show as that is mentioned in the document. The first exhibit in the freak show is a strongman named Vladimir. Vladimir lifts some weights and bends some steel bars in his bare hands. (Vladimir is mentioned by name in the second document.) After doing some stunts he jumps down from the stage and starts the leave the tent. Archie decides to shadow the large strongman. While exiting the tent they pass a strange deformed man who appears to be watching the second exhibit. His eyes are deformed such that they are bulging out of his eye sockets and his head is enlarged. He walks with a significant limp.

Leo and Professor Peaslee move to the second exhibit which features a larger male acrobat and a female acrobat. They are performing strength type moves. The large acrobat is named Sergei and the woman is named Harriet. (Sergei is named in the second document and Harriet is actually married to the circus owner Clyde Beatty.) The final side show act involves a sword swallower and the strange deformed man that Archie spotted earlier. In the act the deformed man is known as the “Fish Boy”. For his act he dons a black hooded cape and crawls around the stage. For the finale he eats a raw fish.

Archie follows Vladimir into his tent then stakes out a spot where he can eavesdrop. Sergei and Harriet enter the tent and the trio start talking. They appear to be talking about committing some type of crime but it is not clear what they are planning. Even though Harriet suggests doing more research Vladimir says that they are going tonight.

While Archie is watching Vladimir’s tent Leo and Professor Peaslee go to see the fortune teller. As they are approaching the tent they see Charles Hower and his wife leaving the tent. They are giggling to each other as they are leaving. They say hello to the PC then move towards the main circus tent for the animal show. At this point Leo and Professor Peaslee enter the fortune tellers tent. In a flash of smoke the are greeted by a good looking woman with black curls and olive skin. She is wearing a dark purple gypsy costume with multicolored bobbles around her neck. After the PC have taken seats at a small table with a crystal ball she continues. She starts by asking them if they are having a nice time at the circus. She then asks what they want to divulge from the spirits. Slyly Leo says that they are looking for a book. With that she closes her eyes and waves her hands over the crystal ball. As she waves her hands the PC note that she is wearing a charm bracelet on her wrist that has sun and moon pendants. The sun pendants are exactly like the one that they found with document 2. After a few seconds she says that this book is shrouded in shadow. She sees it underground in a dark place…a dark tainted place. With that Professor Peaslee intentionally let the name of the book, the Tears Of Azazoth, out in the conversation. After hearing that she quickly ends the session and escorts out the PC closing her tent for the night. Leo and Professor Peaslee follow her back to Vladimir’s tent.

At Vladimir’s tent Sergei and Harriet are just leaving. The fortune teller ushers them all back into Vladimir’s tent so that they can talk in private. Archie overhears the fortune teller telling them that two strangers starting asking about the book. She fears that they might be coppers. Harriet responds that she will get rid of the book tonight. At that point the four split up. Vladimir, Sergei, and the fortune teller return to their tents. Harriet moves to the main tent where she appears to be waiting for the animal show to end. Archie decides to follow Harriet. Leo and the Professor head to the animal show.

After the animal show the PC meet up and decide to stake out the road to the circus. Around midnight a beat up car with Harriet, Sergei, and Vladimir pulls out of the circus lot. The PC follow cautiously. The trio of circus performers approach the Hower estate and park in a dark alley nearby. Harriet and Sergei use acrobatics to reach the top of the estate walls. They then hoist over Vladimir. The trio silently approaches the mansion. With that Professor Peaslee radios Detective Keegan and Tredge who are just now driving back into Arkham. They quickly head over the Hower estate to meet with the rest of the PC…

Date At End Of Game: September 11th, 1935

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #1 – Session #5 – Fish Food

August 24, 2012 By: John Taber Category: Games, The Armitage Files News

Kingport Yacht ClubDate At Start Of Game: September 9th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 5th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]

Back At Miskatonic

After giving Diamond Walsh some coffee and a fresh change of clothes the PC start to question him. First they bring up his wife Dora suggesting that she knew he was being captured but left. Diamond tells the PC that Dora is a strong woman and was undoubtedly looking after his best interest even if her actions appeared suspect. The PC next ask about the night Diamond was kidnapped. He goes through the scene with the PC in detail. Surprisingly Diamond’s story does not match Dora’s exactly. In Diamond’s retelling of the kidnapping Dora screams and moves into the corner of the room but she is not smothered with a pillow and knocked unconscious. Finally the PC ask about Dora and any possible alliances with Oliver Gardiner. Diamond says that to his knowledge Dora met Oliver for the first time at the party about a week ago. At this point the PC know that Dora is hiding something but they are not sure what and to whom she is aligned.

Next the PC interrogate Oren Gardiner. They first strip him down and search his clothes. They then question him about the situation. Oren acknowledges being part of an inner circle at the Kingsport Yacht Club (KYC). Oren suggests that Oliver is the one who wanted to summon Dagon (aka “the voice he heard speaking to him that night on the Capricorn“). Oren emotes that Dagon has made Gardiner Shipping a success and that when he returns from his watery home he will reward his followers. Killing 44 people over the last 10 years, although grim, is just rewards for what Oren and Oliver were given. The PC quickly deduce that Oren has nearly lost his touch with reality.

At this point the PC analyze the clues they have found and develop a rough “Cthulhu org chart”. With some comments from Professor Armitage the PC fill out the top end of their chart. They still have questions about certain players and how they fit into the picture. (Although Leo can read Mandarin the PC decide not to read Oliver’s journal in detail at this time.)

Returning To The Kingsport Yacht Club

Early the next morning the PC return to the KYC. They first search Oren and Sam’s cars. In Sam’s car they find a necklace with an elder sign on it but other than that they find nothing else of interest. They next search the club. The front area, kitchen, and office are completely thrashed. There are large rips in the wallpaper, door jams, and carpet. Several doors are ripped from their hinges. The office safe is still in tact. The secret door to the grotto is ripped out from the inside. When the PC venture down into the grotto they find no Deep Ones. The stone altar is ripped from its base leaving only two stone pillars. Sean calls the station and reports the scene as a vandalism crime.

Speaking With Dora Walsh

Before letting Diamond return home the PC visit Dora Walsh. Detective Keegan leads the questioning. He does not immediately tell Dora that they have rescued Diamond. Instead he focuses on why she was really at the yacht club. Dora lies but then when pressed admits that she thought Oliver may have done something horrible to Diamond. She knew that a “business arrangement” that they had fell apart badly. Next the PC tell Dora that they have found Diamond. She seems honestly relieved and asks when her husband can return home. At this point Detective Keegan bluntly asks Dora is she knows about Deep Ones. Instead of answering his question she tells Diamond’s men to escort the PC off of the estate. The PC know that Dora is involved and suspect that she knows about the mythos through her father Elihu but they need some direct evidence against her before they can charge her with a crime…

Date At End Of Game: September 10th, 1935

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #1 – Session #4 – Fish Food

July 04, 2012 By: John Taber Category: Games, The Armitage Files News

Deep OneDate At Start Of Game: September 9th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 4th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]

The Party Is Over

After Oren and Oliver Gardiner leave Elsa Hower’s coming out party in a rush Detective Keegan decides to delay their return to the Kingsport Yacht Club (KYC). He calls a friend in Arkham police dispatch and has them send a patrol car to waylay the Gardiner car. After making the call to the station the Detective and Professor Peaslee follow in his roadster. They catch up with the Gardiners as their car is in the process of being searched by two uniformed officers. At this point the Detective convinces the officers to let these fine gentlemen go after vouching for their character. Before the Gardiner car leaves Detective Keegan knifes their tire. He then heads to the KYC with the Professor for a “drink”.

Kingsport Yacht Club Shenanigans

While the other PC are distracting the Gardiners Professor Cuttling and Archie are breaking into Oliver Gardiner’s office to crack his safe. First the pair sets up a motorboat to make a fast getaway. Then they break into a window and enter the office. They can hear the KYC chef and host, Laurent, speaking in the kitchen but they do not appear to be paying attention to Oliver’s office. Archie opens the tricky safe in under 5 minutes. Inside he finds some legal paperwork and a packet of papers bound in a leather portfolio. After quickly examining the papers Archie decides that they are important enough to keep and takes the entire bundle.

As Leo and Archie start to leave they see a black limousine in the parking lot that was not there before they broke into the office. Outside of the limo is a large man smoking a cigarette. As this man has a view of their escape route the pair decide to return to the office to plan a different route. They decide to carefully cut open the window pane in the office. Outside the terrain is a rocky cliff. Archie decides to carefully sneak over the roof and down the far side of the building. Professor Cuttling decides to look for an underwater tunnel that might lead to the KYC. After doing a perfect jack-knife into the turbulent waters Leo finds a dark underwater tunnel! The dark tunnel leads to an underground pool that appears to be under the KYC main rotunda. As he enters the larger pool he spies a large shape quickly move by his side out of the tunnel! With that he enters the main pool and take refuge behind a large boulder that provides some cover. While waiting behind the boulder Leo hears two men enter the room. He peaks up and spies two men wearing dark gray robes. One is Elihu Smallridge! The other is a large man with a Texas drawl. Also in the room on a stone altar appears to be Diamond Walsh! He is naked and tied up with seaweed.

When Professor Peaslee and Detective Keegan arrive at the KYC they find Dora Smallridge and two of her goons at the front door speaking with Laurent. Apparently Dora wants to see Oliver immediately. She is quite irate. As the PC approach Detective Keegan calms down the argument then asks Laurent to let them in to have a drink while they wait for Oliver. He relays that he passed Oren and Oliver on the road on the way here. Reluctantly Laurent agrees to let them wait for the Gardiners to return.

As Archie reaches the motorboat another car pulls up. Oren and Oliver grab a suitcase from their trunk then head into the KYC. Oliver politely tells the PC and Dora that they are closed and asks them to leave. After some tense conversation the PC and Dora leave the KYC but Detective Keegan stands with Professor Peaslee immediately outside of the main veranda while he finishes his cigar. After speaking to each other quickly Oren and Oliver enter the walk-in cigar humidor with the suitcase. With that Detective Keegan returns to his roadster and grabs his weapons. Archie runs up with a wrench from the motorboat to join them. The trio calls over Laurent and after Detective Keegan flashes his badge the door is unlocked. At this point the trio heads to the humidor to find it empty. Now knowing that there must be a secret door Professor Peaslee searches the humidor shelves carefully. He finds a secret latch and flips it. This open a hatch in the floor allowing the PC to descend.

Ritual Interrupted

As Detective Keegan, Professor Peaslee, and Archie descend the damp stone stairway they can hear chanting in broken Chinese and English. They emerge in a rocky chamber with a stone table on one side tilted at a sharp angle. At the stone altar a man in a dark gray robe, Oliver, pulls a sacrificial knife and moves toward Diamond Walsh! Detective Keegan acts quickly firing a shot that hits Oliver Gardiner in the stomach. Quickly Professor Cuttling jumps out from his hiding spot behind Oliver pushing him into the water. At this point Archie rushes forward using the shotgun from Detective Keegan as a club. He strikes the large Texan, who Detective Keegan knows as Samuel Watson, in the head sending some teeth flying! At this point Elihu knifes Detective Keegan and Watson knifes Archie. Gathering up his courage Professor Peaslee enters the room and shoots Oren Gardiner in the back as he tries to knife Diamond Walsh from the other side of the altar. This gives Leo a chance to wrest the knife away from Oren Gardiner. Archie then throws Samuel Watson into the water. To the surprise of the PC they hear a gurgling sound coming from the water! They see a humanoid figure with long claws and black glowing ooze grab Oliver and pull him under the water in a screaming cacophony! As the creatures start to pull themselves out of the water Detective Keegan cuffs Oren Gardiner and leads him out of the room. Professor Cuttling grabs Diamond Walsh then the group makes their escape. As they leave the KYC they see several of the strange creatures emerging from the water.

Back At Miskatonic

It is late at night when the PC get back to Miskatonic with Oren, Diamond, and the contents of the KYC safe. Once they arrive Professor Peaslee starts treating the physically and mentally wounded. When he finishes the group decides to examine the papers they took from the safe and to speak with Oren Gardiner and Diamond Walsh.

There are three groups of papers in the leather portfolio from the safe:

Group #1 – Handwritten text on browning paper. Appear to be ripped out of a larger notebook. There is an entry dated October 4th, 1900. It contains the following text:
October 4th, 1900 – I’m sure most kids have normal birthdays but they are not part of a family like mine. After returning from a late night at Pacheo’s Place (aka a high-end bar in Arkham) father asked me to join him in the study. I was expecting a lecture but that is not what I got. Father told me a very strange story from his youth. When he was just 17 he was a hand on the Capricorn. The Capricorn was returning from a plentiful fishing run when they got caught in a ferocious storm. As the storm pounded the ship the mast split in two and dropped on him. When he awoke the storm had subsided but the rest of the crew were gone. Father thanked the oceans for seeing him through the storm. To his surprise the ocean churned and spoke back! It told father that he survived because the “ocean” had intervened on his behalf. The ocean told Father that if he listened and followed instructions he would be granted wild success in all his ventures! Father thanked the strange entity and asked his name…the ocean replied with “Dagon”. Over the years Father has followed directions from Dagon…no matter how dangerous…and he has had nothing but success. I’m not sure what to believe…maybe Father has had a bit too much to drink.

Group #2 – Handwritten text on clean white note sheets. Lines and columns are drawn. The second and last columns appear to be in some type of code. Leo deciphers the code without too much effort.

  • First Column – One or two Chinese (Mandarin) characters. – Increasing numbers running from 1 to 43. Leo knows that the Mandarin number “44” is symbolic for water. (It is a very important number in Chinese mythology.)
  • Second Column – Code – Names. Archie and Detective Keegan recognize the names as members of the Walsh Mob. Archie will see his hotdog stand contact listed three times. The last entry dated two days ago lists this contact with a currency value of $150.
  • Third Column – Dates – Various dates ranging from 1925 to 2 days ago.
  • Fourth Column – Currency – Various dollar amounts mostly ranging from $50 to $200.
  • Fifth Colum – Code – Locations. The locations appear to be various loading docks, back alleys, and deserted roads.

Group #3 – Handwritten text on water stained white paper. Shows various chants in Mandarin. Some are loosely translated to English. First pages appear older and some are water stained. After getting some pages translated Doctor Armitage suggests that it is a summoning spell of some type. (At this point none of the PC have decided to read these pages in detail.)

After analyzing the papers from the safe Doctor Armitage informs the inquiry team that another set of papers have appeared under his desk blotter. At this point the PC need to speak to Oren and Diamond then analyze this new set of papers from Doctor Armitage…

Date At End Of Game: September 9th, 1935