The Chaosium Digest

The Chaosium Digest supports the role-playing games produced by Chaosium Inc. and all content is fan submitted. Begun in 1994 by Shannon Appelcline who passed it to myself in 2000 and previously distributed via email, this is the newest incarnation of the Chaosium Digest. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chaosium Digest Classics: Family Snapshots

A Tale of Terror for Call of Cthulhu by Nick Middleton, ©2002
Originally presented in Chaosium Digest Volume 38, Number 7, Sunday, November 13, 2004

"The sense of isolation inspires
Inspires me"
Intruder, Peter Gabriel

Celia Anderson is an occultist of dubious reputation and an aquaintance of the Investigators. Possibly, they have crossed paths with her on a previous case. She is an independently educated orphan. Now in her mid thirties, short brown hair sternly cut, always conservatively but durably attired, with a steely gaze and brusque demeanor. She has never been convicted of any wrongdoing and the investigators have no reason to believe she is a cultist, although she certainly has a reputation for sharp practice and a lack of concern over the fate of others. There are dark rumours regarding the ultimate fate of some artifacts known to have come in to her possession and questions have been raised amongst informed Occultists as to the sorts of  clients Ms. Anderson works for.

Ideally, Ms. Anderson should be introduced as a peripheral character some sessions before the Keeper intends to run this Tale, and certainly, Ms. Anderson's formidable Occult knowledge and academic training might be of some assistance to the Investigators in a preceding case. Even so, the request to visit her at her family home should come as an intriguing surprise, one they will be willing to take up.

The Investigators will no doubt wish to do some research before they visit Ms. Anderson at home and the invitation should allow them a day or so for such footwork. What they discover depends on which option the Keeper has chosen (see below), but with such limited time only the facts of public record will be revealed before the Investigators have to make their way to the house. It is an aristocratic pile, clearly over a century old (at least in origin) and some what isolated, although sharp-eyed investigators will note that a telephone line and electricity have been installed. A skeleton domestic staff of three is retained but is obviously not capable of maintaining the house and grounds.

Ms. Anderson will be as genial a host as she knows how, although it is clear that much of the house (and grounds) is out of use, and she will freely admit that she doesn't use the house much anymore. In fact, she intends to sell the place soon, which brings her to the reason she invited the Investigators: there is a collection of Occult material (books and artifacts) that has accumulated in the house over the years, some her late father's, some her late brother's and some her own. Since the house is to be sold, she intends to dispose of the collection but chose to consult acknowledged experts (the Investigators) before approaching an auction house. In the field of the Occult and Paranormal, there are risks to any such disposal. Right on cue, the power (and phone) lines are cut, plunging the house into darkness...

Ms. Anderson has not been entirely frank with the Investigators. Her father was a minor Mythos Sorcerer who dabbled and taught his children a little magic. She and her brother George found particular use for the spell, Keenness of Two Alike, especially after their father disappeared and they had to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, George had a particularly gruesome set of experiences in the War and became more than a little unhinged. Ms. Anderson had him institutionalized and is selling the collection and house to be rid of the memories and to generate enough capital for a trust fund to pay for his care indefinitely.

1) She then intends to move away and change her name. Unfortunately, one of the Occult items is a mirror made from Glass of Leng which the Anderson children used as a focus for their spells and which George has used as a target for the other spell he knows, Wandering Soul... George has thus discovered his sister's callous plans and come to wreak revenge on her and all those whom he perceives as helping her. He knows the house and grounds intimately and has the ingenuity, agility, endurance and strength of the insane. He will stalk the inhabitants of the house, beginning with servants, then the investigators, then his Sister. He will also attempt to retrieve the Mirror (which is part of the collection the Investigators were viewing). Both the mirror and his sister are tokens for which George MIGHT bargain.

2) Unfortunately for Miss Anderson and the Investigators, Anderson senior has returned. Or rather, he never left, since his offspring caused his disappearance. Whilst scrying through his magical Mirror of Leng, Anderson Senior's body remained seated in his chair, apparently studying the mirror. When George attempted to shoot his father he was horrified to see the bullet, having passed through his father, smash the mirror. Rather than scatter glass fragments it splashed like quicksilver over Anderson Senior and George. George fled, irrevocably insane, and the quicksilver absorbed Anderson Senior's body. It was forced into the cellar by Ms. Anderson where it has remained, trapped by an electric barrier. Ms. Anderson made the mistake of telling Daddy her plans yesterday and "it" has been desperately calling out for its missing part that was absorbed into George. Now George is home and has cut the power...

3) Unfortunately for the Investigators, Ms. Anderson is a minor Sorcerer and her staff are cultists. Driven mad by her father's experiments with magic and estranged from her devoted brother George by his experiences in the War, she has studied the Mythos too deeply. When George discovered what she was up to he attempted to stop her, but she managed to bribe the right people and he was institutionalized. Fortunately, a pair of his friends managed to intervene to ensure he was not badly treated. They have played a watching game until word of Ms. Anderson's intention to sell the house reached them. Rightly assuming that she intends to disappear to pursue her unspeakable interests elsewhere, George has been sprung from incarceration and he and his two friends have decided to assault the house, capture Celia and destroy as much as possible. George, although not entirely stable, will not initially intend to kill his sister. She, on the other hand, will be prepared to let everyone die (and will summon magical aid to achieve this) if she gets the chance. Although ideally a paranoid stand-off between George and his companions and the Investigators should be arranged before any violence ensues, but after Celia has managed to start the calling of a servitor...

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home