This is a short game that we’re just starting that has some overlap with the old “Darkness in the City of Light” game that was set in wartime Paris. It is an ostensibly Pulp Cthulhu game, set in Chicago, and revolving around the investigators in the employ and orbit of the Graves Trust, a mysterious organization that seems highly interested in mysterious events both locally and across the globe.
Since Call of Cthulhu doesn’t have a “level system” that shows player accomplishment, I am instead showing the gains and losses in Sanity and Cthulhu Mythos for each character. Right off the bat it was clear that Henry Johnson had been rather badly shell-shocked by his experiences (mundane and mystical) in the trenches of the France. By the same token, he knows almost as much about the Unnatural as Ophelia Walsted, the lady who talks to the dead!
Starting in the year 1920, the group has been brought together by Rupert Merriweather, to deal with a unquiet spirit he summoned many years ago – and that now, on his deathbed, he is afraid will be released to wreck havoc on the surrounding countryside. The problem is that they need additional resources from the long dead Marion Allen, and they are hoping that they can find them in old Corbitt House, where Allen lived for a number of years with the nephew of the much despised Walter Corbitt.
Their investigations have uncovered not only the secret raid on the Church of Our Revealer of Secrets and the subsequent cover-up, but a long-hidden basement in the chapel ruins that contained old church records suggesting that Walter Corbitt had been buried in the basement of his house, as well as a set of his diaries and a badly damaged copy of the Liber Ebonicus – a rare medieval grimoire. The group was also witness to a great many supernatural occurrences inside the house itself, from pools of dripping blood, to murderous, angry bed-frames, to a dangerous flying knife in the basement, and finally, the undead sorcerer himself, whom they subsequently destroyed.
They are in a race against time, knowing that once Rupert Merriweather dies, the bindings on the evil Egyptian spirit will unravel quickly, allowing it to escape the lonely farmhouse in Wisconsin it has been confined to for decades…
-Luigi “Lew” DeFazio – Cold-Blooded Assassin – Hit Points: 25 – A torpedo from the New York Syndicate, Lew moved to Chicago after his Capo suffered a grisly and mysterious death, reputably after being cursed by a local Strega. With the opportunity for work in Chicago with Johnny “The Fox” Torrio, Luigi hopes to get away from dark dreams that have plagued him ever since – as well as reputation for being dangerous to be around…
- Sanity: 70/55 – 50 – 45 – 48 – 42 – 50 – 59 – 58
- Mental Disorders: Wiccaphobia – A Phobia of Witches & Witchcraft
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: 9% – 14%
- Mental Talents & Traits: Detached, Callous, Alert
- Social Talents & Traits: Intimidating
- Combat Talents & Traits: Brawler
-Ophelia Walsted – Occultist Femme Fatale – Hit Points: 23 – A native of Chicago, Ophelia is a party girl with an interesting sideline – she’s also a relatively well known occultist who works as a medium, holding séances, using that as a opportunity to line her pockets with gifts and gratuities from grateful friends. What is less well know is that recently she actually has started to be able to see and communicate with the dead…
- Sanity: 84 – 83 – 80
- Mental Disorders: Eisoptrophobia – Phobia of Mirrors
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: 15% – 16% – 19%
- Mystical Talents & Traits: Medium, Telekinetic, Old Soul
-Michael Blakewood – Hard-Boiled Private Investigator – Hit Points: 37 – An captain in the Military Provosts, Michael was promoted to Captain by “Blackjack” Pershing himself. He served as a liaison officer with the French gendarme in Paris, but also found himself helping Captain Hooper in Military Intelligence – though their investigations have less to do with the Boche and more to do with what lurked in the Catacombs of Paris. His experiences there changed him, and upon returning to Chicago he has found work with the William J. Burns International Detective Agency.
- Sanity: 60 – 59 – 70 – 69
- Mental Disorders: None
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: 7%
- Mental Talents & Traits: Detached, Alert
- Physical Talents & Traits: Survivor, Resiliant
- Mystical Talents & Traits: Lucky
- Michael has sworn the Indomitable Oath
-Helen Porter – Antiquarian and Seeker of Knowledge – Hit Points: 18 – Born into a wealthy family, Helen was encouraged by a wealthy aunt to pursue her dreams (and subsequently left her enough money to do so). While not formally trained as an archeologist, she is noted as a eccentric antiquarian who often finds rare and valuable objects for museums, libraries, and private collections. She also worked as a member of the Signal Corp in France on the front lines as part of the budding military intelligence apparatus…
- Sanity: 65/52 – 41 – 42 – 41 – 46 – 53
- Mental Disorders: Anigomania – Obsession for Opening Things
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: None – 5% – 6%
- Mental Talents & Traits: Detached
- Physical Talents & Traits: Eagle-Eyed, Nimble
- Mystical Talents & Traits: Lucky
-Henry Johnson – Steadfast Handyman – Hit Points: 34 – A simple man, Henry has worked as a laborer and handyman for most of his life. He fought in France alongside Sgt. Callan, who saved his life when the dead rose up and tried to kill everyone, Yank and Hun alike. This experience, as well as the Great War itself, has left him a bit shell-shocked. Miss Porter met him during the war and has been good enough to give him a job as her driver, wanting to do a good turn for a veteran.
- Sanity: 65/44 – 39 – 34 – 42 – 34 – 42 – 46
- Mental Disorders: Kinomortophobia – Phobia of Zombies and the Walking Dead
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: 12% – 17% – 18%
- Mental Talents & Traits: Detached, Handy
- Mystical Talents & Traits: Resourceful, Iron-Willed
-Ronald Hooper – Mystic Dilettante – Hit Points: 24– Assigned to the Military Intelligence Division, he was captured by Tcho-Tcho deserters after he disappeared/went AWOL early in 1917 while searching for Ghouls in raving fit. Studying the journals of his grandfather, the occultist Theodore Graves, Captain Hooper has been shaken by hidden and horrible truths and he acted as a quiet patron for Blakewood and Callen in their work in Paris. Post-War he lives in Chicago where he has taken over his family duties regarding the Graves Trust.
- Sanity: 64
- Mental Disorders: Claustrophobia – Fear of small, enclosed places.
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: 35%
- Mental Talents & Traits: Detached, Hardened, Photographic Memory
- Mystical Talents & Traits: Iron-Willed, Lucky
- Ronald is a trained Hermetic Sorcerer
-Monsignor Patrick Morrissey – Steadfast Priest – Hit Points: ?? – A good Irish Catholic priest who serves his Cardinal wherever needed for the good of Mother Church. Father Morrissey volunteered to accompany the American Expeditionary Force to minister to the troops. Wise to the ways of the world, with a fair bit of sympathy to the men and women he left behind in Ireland, the good Father is often willing to bend the rules when it serves what he (and his superiors) sees as the greater good. After the War he immigrated to the United States and ended up in Chicago, where he serves the Arch-Diocese as a roving troubleshooter.
- Sanity: ???
- Mental Disorders: Dipsomania (Alcoholic)
- Knowledge of the Unnatural and the Cthulhu Mythos: ???
-Claude Labouche – A member of the French Army Reserve, Claude has spent 3 years in active duty in the trenches. Currently he’s stationed in Paris, and is on extended medical leave – and acting in the Grand Guignol. He studied History at University and was a hopeful for the French Olympic Fencing Team (the skills having translated well to stage combat). He currently remains in Paris.
-Giselle Huntley – The beautiful niece of the Comte de Montange, Giselle’s mother married well (though common) and moved to Chicago. Intelligent and unwilling to do nothing Giselle volunteered to become a nurse and due to her skill in French was stationed overseas at a military hospital in Paris. An exotic beauty, she is doted on by her mother and father – though there have always been rumors around the circumstances of her birth and curious events have surrounded her for her entire life. While it might be described as a “blessed life” it could be better described as a foul curse on those that have opposed or threatened her. Her fate is unknown.
-Muriel Lethbridge-Stewart – Older, though still attractive and quite energetic, Muriel is a widow who has travelled the world in her time at the side of her husband, a Colonel in the British Army. Often one step away from scandal, her son despairs of her ever being content to live or remain at home. Her… unnatural… vitality and… vivaciousness is cause for some comment in many circles – undoubtedly some tea or other medicine that she discovered during her time in Shanghai, or India, or Constantinople, or…
-Sergeant James Callan – Mercenary Adventurer – An orphan, James Callen joined the 97th Battalion (the “American Legion” and later, the “Lost Legion”) of the Canadian Army in 1915 at the age of 13 to fight in the Great War and transferred into the American Expeditionary Force when they entered the war – after first serving in both Mesopotamia (with the British) and France (with the British and the Americans). He was assigned to help Captain Blakewood in his duties, and the two get along quite well in spite of little they have in common. After the Armistice, he was sent to AEF Siberia when he offended a “ring knocker” from West Point. Older than his years would indicate, James has an innate talent for art and practice of arms and war that has served him well. His fate is unknown.
-Captain Pierre Gaston – A member of the National Gendarme (French Military Police), he is the contact with the Paris police forces for Captain Blakewood. A good man, Gaston prefers for neat solutions to messy problems and is likely to brush things under the rug if a solution has been found rather than make a fuss in an effort to fill out the proper paperwork. A Mason and member of Le Droit Humain (Co-masonry), he is a bit more aware of or open to the possibility of supernatural affairs than your average policeman. He currently remains in Paris.