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Archive for the ‘The Armitage Files News’

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #2 – Session #9 – Oedipus Complex

February 11, 2013 By: John Taber Category: Games, The Armitage Files News

Marta PhotoDate At Start Of Game: September 12th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 9th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]

Tracking Down The Tears Of Azazoth

After the chaotic melee in the basement with the byakhee the PC evaluate the situation and try to determine what happened. Archie checks out Tredge’s wounds then tries to calm down the hobo who is paralyzed in fear. Detective Keegan calls for backup and for an ambulance. Father Nunzio enters the basement holding his head. He entered the church proper and found Pastor Murphy in a pew reading a strange black book. When he asked the Pastor for some help in the next room he did not respond. When Father Nunzio grabbed Pastor Murphy’s arm he struck him in the back of the head sending him sprawling. At this point Father Nunzio takes the hobo under his arm and adjourns to another room to console him. The PC begin to search the house in an attempt to find more clues. In Pastor Murphy’s room they find some butcher paper that has been tied with twine. It must have held the Tears Of Azazoth. On the outside handwriting says “p. Murphy $50”.

At this point the PC call Professor Cuttling to help them go over their clues. The trio considers all options and thinks that the best course of action is to head to head to Boston to try and find the “Jahraus” house where the circus performers stole the Tears Of Azazoth. Maybe the owner is trying to get it back?

Boston Murders

As the trio heads to Boston to start their investigation Detective Keegan calls ahead to the Boston Police Department (PD). He tells them that he is investigating a murder in Arkham and would like to speak with the Boston PD about someone named “Jahraus” who is likely from a wealthy household. To his surprise the Boston PD puts on one of their homicide investigators, Detective Harrison. Detective Harrison informs Detective Keegan that he is working on two strange murders that happened the previous night in Boston. After brief exchange the pair realize that they are working on a related case. They decide to meet to discuss details.

Detective Harrison, a tough looking old-school cop, pulls out his files and start to go over the details with Detective Keegan and his associates. In Boston there were two murders that happened within two hours of each other. The first is an antique dealer. He was killed in his bed. A paralyzing look of fear was on his face. His eyes were rolled back into his head. The victim’s throat was torn into with a razor sharp implement in an oval shaped pattern. The second is a pawn shop owner. He was also killed in his bed. He had the same sign of fear but had only minor scratches on one arm. It appears that he had a heart attack. At this point Detective Keegan explains select details from the murder of Pastor Murphy. He relays his suspicion that the murders are the result of a robbery gone terribly wrong. After going over the details the two police detectives decide to head over to the Jahraus house to see if they can come up with any clues. Detective Keegan asks that some officers go back to the crime scenes to grab receipt books or paperwork that may show transfer of ownership of a black book called the Tears Of Azazoth. He explains that this book may be the motivation for these strange murders.

First Visit To The Jahraus Household

The PC with Detective Harrison driving pull to the Jahraus house. The house is in a nice neighborhood but is not that well kept. There are some weeds in the lawn and the paint is chipping on most of the window and door frames. The group then ascends the creaky front porch and knocks on the door. A frazzled older woman in her late 50’s opens the door. With a thick German accent she says that her name is Marta. Detective Keegan says that they need to speak with Fred Jahraus. After wiping her hands on her dirty apron she escorts the PC into an adjacent front parlor then goes to fetch Fred. The PC can hear several children playing in rooms near the back of the house. The front room is very well kept and includes a curio cabinet, two plush chairs, and a bookshelf. Inside the curio cabinet is an award for Fred Jahraus for his work at Lien Fung. Lien Fung is apparently his place of employment.

Fred Jahraus enters the room followed by Marta. Fred is a handsome blonde man with long mutton chop sideburns. He is wearing a button down shirt and slacks. As Fred shakes the hands of the PC a large but false smile adorns his face. The PC then begin to question Fred. They ask about a robbery which he denies. They then ask about a book called the Tears Of Azazoth. Although he puts on a great show Detective Keegan believes that Fred Jahraus knows about the Tears Of Azazoth and is covering it up. After some conversation Detective Keegan asks his associates (aka Archie and Leo) to examine the house.

As Archie and Leo move to the back rooms they see 5 kids ranging from 4 to 14. The children are a bit dirty and seem a bit scared. Archie and Leo then proceed to search the upstairs bedrooms. In Fred’s room they find several newspaper clippings. The clippings are mostly related to a tiny political organization that Fred Jahraus chairs called the American Preservation League (APL). The APL pushes for stricter immigration laws and a strong isolationist policy. Apparently Fred took over leadership of the organization when his father passed away. His father, Dieter, was killed 15 years ago at his place of work (a clothing manufacturer known as Lien Fung) by, “an assault with a deadly weapon.” Most of the articles are related to the support of white victims from colored assailants. Common tactics including picketing and attendance at local political functions. One recent article talks about how two APL members attacked a black neighbor who moved next door and trespassed. The victim claims that he was on his own property.

In Marta’s room the PC find two things of interest. The first thing they find is an old picture of Marta. It is the same picture that the PC found with Document 1 except the face is not yet burned out! On the back it lists 1898 as the year. On a whim Archie scratches one corner. They also find a small jewelry box that contains the black onyx ring found in the picture.

After finding these artifacts Archie and Leo devise a plan to watch what happens immediately after the group of police officers leaves the house. They carefully rig one of the upstairs windows so that they can break in later. While rigging the window they notice scratches from what appears to be a small crowbar. This confirms that the house was broken into by the circus performers and for some reason the Jahraus family is hiding it. If they get lucky the Jahraus family will reveal the location of the Tears Of Azazoth. On their way back to the front parlor Leo asks to get a drink of water. In the kitchen the other children watch him with quiet serious stares. Leo gets a feeling that something is not right with the children but he cannot put his finger on the reason why. It sends a chill up his spine. As the group leaves Leo rounds the corner and quickly climbs the drain pipe so that he can watch the upstairs hallway.

After the PC leave Leo sees Marta and Fred walk into the upstairs hallway. In the hallway they have a silent conversation. Fred appears to be trying to comfort his Mother who is very upset by the visit from the police. After first calmly brushing her arm Fred gives Marta a deep kiss of the type that is not proper for a family member. Before climbing down Leo also hears commotion in the backyard. The two eldest children, a girl and boy, are opening what appears to be a root cellar in hushed tones. At this point Archie climbs down and returns to the group. Detective Harrison suggests looking at another avenue as he does not see evidence that the Jahraus family has done anything illegal. After parting with Detective Harrison the PC compare notes. When Archie explains what he witnessed in the hallway Leo realizes why the children seemed creepy. They all have bone structures similar to Marta and Fred. They must be inbred. At this point Archie also call back to Miskatonic University to ask about the picture. To his horror the picture is scratched with the mark that he made!

Second Visit To The Jahraus Household

After having dropped off Detective Harrison at the Boston police office the PC head back to the Jahraus house. When they return they decide to sneak into the root cellar to check out what the two kids were doing. Archie leads the way. Leo and Detective Keegan carefully search the root cellar. In the floor they find an engraved symbol that looks like an eye. Under the symbol they find a green painted box. The box has some German writing on the side which they careful write down. The trio then opens the box. Inside are paper shreds that are being used as packing material. It is readily apparent that this box once held the book. After leaving the cellar the trio hears an argument happening in the front parlor. Archie sneaks over to listen while Leo and Detective Keegan hide behind some bushes in the backyard. In the front yard is a blue sedan that Archie does not recognize. He quickly writes down the license plate number. Archie hears some crying coming from a woman’s voice that he does not recognize. He then hears her talking in a loud voice, “Mother how could you!?! I can’t believe it.” After a short pause Marta speaks up, “When your Father left I was lost…and Fred…Kate I…” At that point the front door slams open and a blonde haired woman in a nice dress leaves the house. She gets into the blue sedan and drives off. Fred comes out on the porch behind Marta and says, “Do you think she will do anything about with what she has learned? I bet it was that fiancé of hers that put her up to this…” As Fred grabs his jacket Marta says to him, “Don’t do anything rash Fred…please…she is your sister.” Fred storms out to the garage and takes off.

At this point Marta returns to the family room with the kids. A few seconds later the two eldest Jahraus children leave from the back door of the house and head into the root cellar. The girl goes under the swing near a tool shed and pulls up a board. From under the board she removes what appears to be a dead cat. Holding it by the hind legs she enters the root cellar. Archie sneaks over to listen. As he sneaks up he trips on the garden hose and makes a noise. When the cellar door opens with the Jahraus boy Archie clocks him then runs to the bushes with the other PC. When Archie reaches the other PC they hear a crash and five byakhee explode from the root cellar! After hovering for a moment they take off.

Killing Kate

Quickly the PC return to their car and race towards Kate Jahraus’ house. With some fancy driving the PC arrive at the scene before the byakhee. After arming up they head towards the front door. When the approach they can hear Fred Jahraus yelling. Archie breaks open the door while Detective Keegan takes the lead. Inside they see Fred with a handgun yelling at a man they assume to be Martin. Martin is shielding Kate with his body telling Fred to leave. Detective Keegan tells Fred to freeze and to drop the gun. As Fred lays down the gun and backs off Archie and Leo see byakhee approaching. Three are approaching from the front door and two are coming from the back. At this point combat ensues! The PC start blasting at byakhee with shotguns and a pistol. Fred cowers behind a couch. Martin grabs a kitchen knife and tries to defend Kate. It quickly becomes apparent that the creatures are trying to get to Kate. As Martin falls Archie defends Kate. With some powerful blows he takes out the last byakhee.

After the byakhee threat is over Kate runs to check on Martin but he is dead. She sobs and cries out in anguish…

Date At End Of Game: September 13th, 1935

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #2 – Session #8 – Book End

November 09, 2012 By: John Taber Category: Games, The Armitage Files News

ByakheeDate At Start Of Game: September 12th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 8th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.]

Following The Tears Of Azazoth

After questioning the circus performers the PC decide that they need to track down the Tears Of Azazoth. They head back to the circus to arrest Claudia (aka the fortune teller) and to look around in the various tents. Detective Keegan takes the lead by going to Claudia’s tent and summoning her. When confronted Claudia admits that she handled the book and did not know its value until she tried to sell it. The fortune teller sold the book the previous night at King’s Book in Arkham. She confesses to knowing that the book is stolen goods. After Claudia gets dressed Detective Keegan locks her in his car and proceeds to speak with Clyde Beatty about his wife Harriet Evans who has been arrested. His goal is to discover if Clyde knew anything about the robberies. While speaking with Clyde, Archie takes the opportunity to search Claudia’s tent. He finds some cash, an empty wooden box that likely once held the book, and her fortune teller costume. Archie takes the box and the bracelet from her costume as the small pendants match the one found taped to the latest Armitage file. The box looks quite old and has a word in German on the side. The hidden compartment at the bottom is very well crafted.

Clyde Beatty is settling down with his morning coffee when the Detective knocks on his door. With a concerned look Clyde offers some coffee to Detective Keegan and asks what brings him to the circus. Detective Keegan explains that his wife Harriet, Vladimir the strongman, and Sergei the acrobat have been arrested breaking into a local mansion. Clyde seems upset by the news but somehow not surprised. After talking for a bit Clyde grabs his coat and Detective Keegan escorts him to Claudia who is waiting in the squad car. When entering the car Claudia says hello to Clyde but they do not talk any further.

This gives Archie a chance to search the Beatty trailer and Vladimir and Sergei’s tent. In the trailer among Harriet’s trunks he finds some cash and a scrapbook with newspaper clippings from her career. One interesting clipping is of Harriet performing as a magician’s assistant. This must be where she learned how to pick pockets. In a desk Archie finds an accounting journal that confirms Harriet’s statements in the interrogation room. The Clyde Beatty Circus is failing fast. Escalating costs are killing all of their profits. In Vladimir and Sergei’s tent Archie breaks into Vladimir’s trunk. Inside he finds $100 in cash and a velvet bag with a silver scale. The scale is comprised of two plates and a loose balancing chain. On one plate in the concave center are the symbols of three tentacles. Archie takes the money and scale.

At this point the PC head to King’s Books to find the Tears Of Azazoth. After knocking on the door for some time with no response Tredge picks the lock and the PC enter the small store. At the back counter they see some strange scratches and find a receipt book with “p. Murphy”. When they move upstairs they find Milton dead in his bead. An oval sized bite mark on his chest shows a ring of razor sharp teeth. Milton’s hands are at his fear struck face. ..his eyes rolled back into his head. Near the bed posts and window ledge the PC find more scratch marks. The window shutters eerily slaps against the frame. At this point Detective Keegan calls in the incident then the trio of PC head to the church to check on Pastor Murphy.

As they are driving up the gravel path to the church the spot a young man on a bicycle with a look of terror on his face. When the PC stop their car the boy is so spooked that he falls from his bike sending himself sprawling on the gravel road. After calming down the boy the PC learn that his name is Phil Hughes. He explains delivering a package to Father Murphy. After delivering the package Phil went into the church to say a quick prayer. Upon leaving he heard some strange sounds coming from the basement under the house next to the church. When Phil went to investigate he found these strange flying creatures surrounding the Pastor who was preaching to a hobo that was tied up in front of him. With that Detective Keegan hands out a shotgun to Archie and the three PC approach the house.

When the three PC approach the house they can hear loud noises coming from the basement. After breaking out one of the blacked out basement windows Detective Keegan sees a horrible sight. Four winged gargoyle like creatures are flying around his parish preacher. The preacher is loudly reciting a sermon from a black tome as he wildly swings at one of the flying creatures with a scythe. The target of the sermon is a supplicant hobo who has his hand tied together. The hobo is frozen in terror! The words coming from the Pastor are a combination of Cthulhu madness and holy diatribe! After gathering their wits the PC spring into action. The Detective starts firing at the closest gargoyle with his shotgun. Archie busts open the storm cellar doors then jumps down with a ferocious shotgun blast. Tredge rushes up to the melee hoping to be able to snatch the Tears Of Azazoth from the insane priest. As the creatures are swirling around the priest Tredge realizes that the gargoyles are also trying to grab the book. During the frantic combat Tredge takes several hits and falls unconscious. As the combat progresses the scythe glows but Father Murphy’s blows go wide. As one of the gargoyles fells the preacher another grabs the Tears Of Azazoth. Archie punches at one of the gargoyles killing him with a fractured ribcage. With the book clutched in his talons the last gargoyle races for the window. Detective Keegan nails him with a deadly shot but the creature does not fall! It busts out of a basement window trying to make a hasty retreat. Detective Keegan takes one more parting shot but it goes wide…the creature has escaped with the book. With that the PC check the hobo and the pastor. The hobo is mentally scarred but physically fine. Pastor Murphy is dead. After bandaging Tredge and stealing their nerves the PC take some photographs of the melting gargoyles then try and decide how to proceed…

Date At End Of Game: September 12th, 1935

The Armitage Files Session Log: Document #2 – Session #7 – Traveling Side Show Freaks

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

Harriet EvansDate At Start Of Game: September 11th, 1935

[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 7th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play.

Note that for the first two hours of this session we worked on converting all of the characters from Trail Of Cthulhu to Call Of Cthulhu.]

Circus Act

The session opens with the PC gathering at the Hower estate to stop three members of the Clyde Beatty Circus from breaking into the house. Detective Keagan takes the lead by openly walking up the driveway with his shotgun in hand. He spies the three performers on one side of the Hower Mansion. After cycling his shotgun and telling them to freeze two of the burglars raise their hands to surrender. The third large performer, Vladimir, rushes forward in a frenzy! Detective Keegan takes a shot but it goes wide. Tredge moves over to the wall with his bat to block his escape. This time Detective Keegan does not miss. The shot sends Vladimir to his knees. As Tredge approaches to brain the large weightlifter he mutters, “Great Cthulhu will feed!” With that Tredge brains him with his bat knocking him unconscious.

After apprehending the performers they are brought back to the station for questioning. Detective Keagan and Professor Peaslee are in the room while the other PC are watching through a one way window. They first question Harriet Evans. Harriet explains that the circus is failing. They have been losing money at each stop due to poor attendance. Also costs escalated when one of their tigers needed significant medical care. The trio have been committing robberies up and down the eastern seaboard to keep the circus afloat. Their motive operandi is to case a mark at the show. They then follow the mark home or pick their pocket to get their address. After getting the address they case the house. The next night they commit the robbery. They focus on small high value items only. Jewelry, small antiques, and rare artwork are what they try to steal. Vladimir has a brother in Moscow who he mails the items for fencing in Russia. The brother then send them money for the item after taking a cut.

The PC next ask what Harriet knows about “Cthulhu”. She does not know anything about Cthulhu and does not know what made Vladimir so crazed. Harriet also mentions that they normally don’t pull jobs so quickly but Vladimir did not want to wait.

Next the PC ask about the black book with the strange symbol on the cover. Harriet explains that in Boston they robbed the house of a man named “Jahraus”. One of the items they made off with was a small wooden box. Inside was a set of golden scales. When they accidentally dropped the box a hidden compartment popped open. Inside was this strange black book. The language looked like it might be Italian so they showed it to Claudia (aka the fortune teller). She told them it was Latin not Italian. Claudia could only make out a few words but it seemed old and valuable. When the PC started asking about it at the circus Harriet gave the book to Claudia to sell. They should talk with Claudia to see if she was able to actually sell it.

Questioning Sergei does not reveal anything additional of interest except that Vladimir’s brother is named Yuriy. The PC have not yet attempted to question Vladimir who is still out cold.

At this point the PC began to weigh their options…

Date At End Of Game: September 12th, 1935