The Necronomicon Expedition
Call of Cthulhu Pinebox session played at Kaiju on 6/18/2017
St. Damian's Professor Warren has returned from a trip to Greece where he was seeking the Necronomicon. His basement contains a doorway to the Dreamlands. Nathan Euler murders Classics Professor Raptis with an axe in the Starbucks parking lot.
During the Spring Semester, a group from St. Damian's University went to Thessaly in Greece for an overseas Archeology Research Project. Several students from the trip are missing and one committed suicide. It is your goal to determine what happened to them.
Archeologist Dr. Hunter Warren and Professor of Greek Dr. Helena Raptis have led several overseas trips to Turkey and Greece. After their most recent trip this Spring Semester, two students reportedly decided to stay in Greece for sightseeing after the project was completed, but they have still not returned and their families have not heard from them. Two other students that returned have since gone missing and did not attend today's graduation ceremony. Another student from the trip, Dustin Burroughs, just committed suicide last night. He left a note: "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons, even death may die. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"
• Marnix playing Nathan Euler, college athlete (football) at St. Damian. Veteran investigator. Read the Book of Dzun. Compulsion to wander. Friend of Eric Cho and Dustin Burroughs. 68 luck.
• Kali playing Dr. Sands, History Professor. Dustin was a favorite pupil. Luck 50 = 47.
• Jason playing Edward Ward, Anthropology Student, friend of Marcus Wildes. Luck 65.
• Flea playing Emily Kessler, softball student athlete. Audrey was her roommate. Luck 60.
PARTICIPANTS ON THE TRIP TO GREECE…
1. Doctor Hunter Warren, Prof of Archelogy
2. Doctor Helena Raptis, Prof of Greek in Classical Languages Dept. (Killed by Nathan Euler during the episode)
1. Tania Bassett – graduate student. returned from Greece and graduated with Master's Degree. From Connecticut.
2. Dustin Burroughs – Undergraduate. Returned from Greece and committed suicide the night before graduation.
3. Eric Cho – Undergraduate. Recently went missing after return from Greece. Was scheduled to graduate but not present at commencement.
4. Chase Corey – Graduate student. Returned from Greece.
5. Jonathan Eastey – Undergraduate. returned from Greece and graduated.
6. Audrey Hubbard – Undergraduate. Went missing soon after return from Greece.
7. Angela Martinez – Missing. Did not return from Greece.
8. August Putnam V – Graduate student. Returned from Greece.
9. Marcus Wildes – Missing. Did not return from Greece.
• The Dean of St. Damian's University assigns Dr. Sands to investigate the trip to Greece, including the disappearances and the suicide. The Dean provides the following background about Dr. Warren: Dr. Hunter Warren came to St. Damians as a expert on early American archeology. However, after his first year he developed a new interest in Greece. He took Greek classes, and became romantically involved with the Professor of Greek. With her, he has led expeditions to Turkey and Greece for the last three years. However, in that time he has been in trouble because he has not published any new articles and therefore his chances of obtaining tenure appear slim.
• Audrey Hubbard wrote messages to Emily saying that the trip had changed her life and she now understood the truth about the universe. Audrey stayed with her parents briefly after they picked her up from the airport. She acted strangely. Her parents overheard her in her bedroom reciting something in another language. She left after a brief visit and returned to Pinebox. This was a surprise since the original plan was for her to stay at home for the summer, but she was adamant about the need to return to NM over the summer. They have not heard from her since.
• Eric Cho was supposed to graduate today. His parents flew from China to attend the ceremony, but he was not there. He sent mysterious messages from his trip to Greece, but has barely communicated with them since.
• Marcus Wildes sent messages to Edward Ward while on the trip, saying that the professors and most of the students were really weird and creepy, and they weren't really doing archeology. They were looking for some book called "The Necronomicon." The St. Damian's Library once had a copy of the English-language version of the Necronomicon, but it was mysteriously removed and lost several months ago. The version that was being sought on the expedition was apparently in Greek.
• The investigators meet in the St. Damian's Library and exchange information. They visit Eric Cho's dorm room and Edward Burrough's dorm room. Both appeared to have packed up and left recently - laptops and most clothes were missing. In Eric Cho's room there is a map of Thessaly showing the monasteries of Meteora, with a rural area nearby circled.
• They search the offices of Dr. Raptis and Dr. Warren. In Raptis' office, they find the grades that were awarded to all of the participants. The missing students were the only ones that did not get "A+" grades. In Warren's office, they find the papers that the students turned in for the project. None of them appear to have been read. There is no paper by Marcus Wildes.
• Dr. Sands contacts Dr. Raptis by phone and they agree to meet at the Starbucks near campus. The other investigators wait at a nearby table. When confronted, Raptis becomes hostile and leaves. Nathan Euler stops her in the parking lot and blocks her way to prevent her from leaving. She stares into his eyes and casts a spell that causes insanity. The effect is probably not when she intended, because it makes Euler violent. He pulls out a hatchet and chops it into her head, killing her. There were witnesses as this happened in public in broad daylight. Euler flees before the police arrive.
• The investigators go to Dr. Warren's residence, a remote large cabin-like house to the West, on the far side of the Wildlife Refuge. Dr. Sands and Emily knock on the door and are allowed in by a student. Another student looks on from the kitchen. They attempt to bluff their way in, but it doesn't work. The student in the kitchen pulls out an AK-47. Emily grabs it. The other student casts some kind of spell that creates a mist. Dr. Sands has a bout of madness that robs her of her memories of the event. Emily sprays her AK-47, but doesn’t seem to hit anything through the mist. They hear the students running away down the stairs. Dr. Sands and Emily escape back through the front door.
• Meanwhile, Nathan and Edward explore the back door, which is two stories below as the house is on a steep hill. There is a big mound of dirt outside of the back door. The back door is open, so they enter the unfinished basement. There are stairs up, an ornate doorway, and a deep crude pit. The pit has a rope to climb down. Nathan looks through the elaborate doorway and sees a galactic scene of stars and nebulae. He enters and finds himself on a plain in the dreamlands, near Celephais. Three large worm creatures are crawling across the plain towards him. He retreats back through the doorway into the basement.
The investigators retreat from Dr. Warren's house.
Doctor Hunter Warren and twelve of his Archeology 101 students have disappeared. Before they disappeared, the students all sent emails or texts or social media texts to friends and loved ones saying that they were going on a mission of self-discovery.
The characters are all friends or roommates of some of the missing students. They are summoned to the dean’s office in an effort to determine what has happened. Afterwards, they work together to try to find the missing students.
- Jacob as Chad Newark, the drug dealer, lover of missing student Cypress Jones.
- Chandler as Andrew Rosco, college baseball player, who is enrolled in the Archeology 101 course but hasn’t been attending.
- Justin as Francois Fecheria, male model, friend of mssing student Zane Rogers.
- Aaron as Cobb, taxi driver, the last to see several students.
- Alex as Sensei Patrick Hardesty, Aikido Instructor, who taught two of the missing students, Hannah and Emily.
- Liz as Frankie Nelson, Engineering Student. Roommate of missing student Agnes Minors.
From the dean they learn that Professor Warren led an expedition to Greece back in the Spring Semester, and that some students disappeared from that trip and others committed suicide shortly thereafter, which is why the dean is so concerned.
They ask the dean to search Dr. Warren’s office. Chad finds and steals an ornate dagger. They search his computer.
Dr. Warren had a reminder set for the previous night labelled “Mnar Trip.”
They see that Dr. Randy Carter recently contacted him by email, writing “Saw you in Celephais. Would like to meet in the daytime world.”
The students contact Dr. Randy Carter. Carter is the new director of the St. Damian’s Sleep Lab. He replaced Dr. Blodian, who exploded (see “The Subterranean Empire of K’n-yan, Episode 5 https://community.nerdlouisville.org/topic/153/the-subterranean-empire-of-k-n-yan-wolves-of-blood-honor/10). They meet him at the Sleep Center. He reveals that he saw Dr. Warren in Celephais in the dreamlands. But Warren flew away on a Byakee before he could speak to him. Carter heard that Warren had recovered the Greek Necronomicon and is interested in it.
Carter offers to bring the characters into the dreamlands via “Guided Dreaming” if they return to the Sleep Center at 11PM.
Carter tells them that St. Damian’s is the best place to study dreaming, because Yig lies beneath Pinebox.
While at the Sleep Center, Frankie gets a call from Michelle Minors, the mother of her missing roommate, Agnes. Mrs. Minors tells her that she had a terrible dream about Agnes the previous night. Michelle Rogers saw Agnes held captive in the Dreamlands. She saw the students manacled to a rock in a marshy wilderness on the shore of a lake, with the ruins of a great city in the distance. The walls of the city were marble and hundreds of feet high. Within the walls were towers even higher of multi-colored stone. Nearby there was a doorframe standing alone in the desert, and through the doorframe she saw stars and nebulae. A man stood nearby at an altar. He wore a robe covered with arcane symbols and he was reading a massive book at the altar. On the altar were knives and tools covered in blood, and the altar was stained with blood. There was a huge creature standing by the man. A four-armed creature with a fanged mouth at the top of its head.
Mrs. Minors says “Agnes said that she had hoped and prayed for me and that she had brought me there with his hopes and prayers. She begged me to save her, but how could I? Then the robed man at the altar turned and saw me. "Well, well, we have a guest." He commanded the four armed creature. "Seize her!" It came towards me. I ran through the marsh away from it. I stumbled and it caught me. And then I woke up.”
Randy Carter tells them that the marble city sounds like the ruins of Sarnath, which lies in the dreamlands realm of Mnar. He gives them a map of the dreamlands.
The investigators go to Dr. Warren’s house and break in. Chad breaks a basement window and peeks in. He sees a byakee and goes insane, acquiring a long-term fear of dark entrances.
They go down into the basement, where they fight the byakee and kill it. Once killed, it disappears.
Cobb drives a car through the basement door.
In the basement, they find a rack of medieval weapon in front of a gateway to the dreamlands. They outfit themselves with swords, maces, etc and step through the gateway.
Francois has seen enough and flees.
On the other side, they find themselves in the marshy wilderness outside of the ruins of Sarnath, as describes in Mrs. Minors’ dream.
Chad negotiates a deal with the wizard, Dr. Warren, to return his magical dagger if he will release Cypress and take Frankie instead. Dr. Warren sends his Dark Young of Shub Niggurath to take Frankie.
Dr. Warren reveals that he went to the dreamlands because it enabled him to read the book and expanded time. He took the students because real-world Earthlings make the best sacrifices. He is attempting to call Shub-Niggurath.
Cobb leaves through the gate and abandons the others.
Patrick Hardesty attempts to fight Dr. Warren, but is trampled by the Dark Young and killed.
Rosco charges Dr Warren. Warren casts a spell of withering, ruining Rosco’s leg. Rosco hops on and knocks Dr. Warren unconscious, but the Dark Young of Shub Niggurath fights on against Frankie. Frankie chops off her roommate’s hand to free her and they run, but the Dark Young pursues and grabs Frankie again. Frankie chops off two of the Dark Young’s tentacles. The Dark Young drains Frankie’s strength, reducing Frankie to 15 Strength before the fight is over.
Chad retreats through the gate and destroys it, then burns down the house. He has acquired an indefinite insanity: Fear of firearms.
Rosco looks at the Necronomicon. Even though it is in Greek, in the Dreamlands all languages are the same, so he can read it. He reads through it looking for a picture of the creature fighting Frankie. Eventually, he finds the spells to Summon, Bind, or Dispel Dark Young of Shub Niggurath. He reads the spell of binding and takes control of the creature, saving Frankie. He commands the Dark Young to free all of the students from their manacles.
They are trapped in the dreamlands, but Rosco and Frankie read the Necronomicon and find the spell to create a gateway. It requires a sacrifice of 20 POW, but they share the cost with the students, so that each loses only 2 POW. They re-establish the gate.
Rosco, Frankie, and the students pass through the gate into the burned out rubble of Dr. Warren’s house in the real world. It took them weeks of reading the Necronomicon in the dreamlands, but they discover that only three days have passed in the real world.
Rosco and Frankie have Dr. Warren’s Necronomicon, but in the waking world it is unintelligible because it is written in Greek.
Every character who went temporarily (or indefinitely) insane due to the byakee or during the visit to the Dreamlands will gain +5% Cthulhu Mythos. Rosco and Frankie gain an additional +12% Cthulhu Mythos from reading of the Necronomicon.
Andrew Rosco and Frankie Nelson have completed an initial reading of the Necronomicon and have learned the spell “Dream Gate” which is similar to the rulebook spell “Gate” but creates a gate to the Dreamlands for 20 POW. To cast it again, they will need the book as a reference. To learn Gate or any additional spell so that it can be cast from memory, they must spend 2d6 weeks and succeed in an INT check for each spell. Spells can be learned much more quickly if the book will be eferenced during the casting.
To learn from the Necronomicon in the real world, the reader must understand Greek. The Necronomicon has the following spells to learn: Call/Dismiss Azathoth, Call/Dismiss Cthugha, Call/Dismiss Hastur, Call/Dismiss Nyogtha, Call/Dismiss Shub-Niggurath, Call/Dismiss Yig, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Ghoul, Contact Deity/Nyarlathotep, Contact Sand Dweller, Dominate, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Dust of Suleiman, Dream Gate, Elder Sign, Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, Resurrection, Shrivelling, Summon/Bind Byakhee, Summon/Bind Fire Vampire, Summon/ Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Summon/Bind Swarm of Serpents, Voorish Sign.
The requirements of these spells may differ from the rulebook.
@andyb did you find out how to recover strength?
@andyb did you find out how to recover strength?
Unfortunately, strength drain from a Dark Young is permanent, and there are no rules in CoC for improving characteristics naturally. There are, however, rules for improving skills through training, so I think we can apply a similar principle to allow improvement of characteristics through training: After four months of training, you can roll vs your strength. If you roll higher than your current strength, your strength increases by d6. In story terms, you are doing physical therapy or weight training.
You can also try to increase your strength by unnatural means. While Frankie was in the dreamlands, she could have learned something along those lines from *The Necronomicon. The Mythos Rating of The Necronomicon is 51%, so let's try the online dice roller...
@Nerdbot roll 1d100
You rolled 1d100: 44
1d100: 44 = 44
44 is less than 51%, so Frankie was successful. While reading The Necronomicon she discovered two ways that strength might be increased.
- The first is by contacting Nyarlothotep and serving him in exchange for strength.
- The second is by a spell called "Body Warping." The Necronomicon tells of a sorcerer in the Middle Ages who warped his body into the form of another and thereby became fearsome strong. However, the spell itself does not appear in the Necronomicon.