Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 10: City of the Old Ones, Part 3

In the morning, everyone noticed that the winds that had made a return flight over the Miskatonic Mountains impossible had ceased. Everyone was in a good mood, although Professor Moore was frustrated that he’d been ordered to stay in camp by Dr. Greene. The Investigators returned to the Hemisphere Room with many arches and began to explore the large archway they had not yet checked out.

The hallway sloped down, sharply, and Tanj pounded a piton in at the top, lowering a 100 feet of rope. Everyone was concerned when they got to the end of the rope with no bottom in sight, but they continued carefulyl down the slope. Only after some quarter-mile of distance did the tunnel end in an elliptical chamber. At the entrance, a shuffling noise and furtive movement got them all on edge, so when a squawking, white form some 7 feet tall lunged out of a side corridor, it wasn’t too shocking that nervous trigger fingers twitched, and Tanj and Buffington brought the creature down.

It proved to be a huge, albino, blind penguin. Everyone had read about the creatures in Dyer’s notes, but no one had been sure how seriously to take the report. Now everyone wondered if the other creature Dyer mentioned – the shoggoth – would prove to be real as well.

A huge, blind, albino penguin

The air near a tunnel out of the elliptical cavern proved to be warmer, and the whole area had a somewhat fetid, organic smell. As they approached the exit tunnel, however, they heard something. Everyone froze, as a voice seemed to call “tekeli-li” up at them. As something looming, black, and terrible emerged, everyone fled, as fast as possible. Valentine paused to shoot at it, but he couldn’t tell if his shot truly did any damage. Morgan fell back to keep pace with Valentine, and he paid for it, as a huge pseudopod lashed out at him, cracking ribs, knocking the breath painfully from his body. He managed to stagger on, though.

The shoggoth comes…

Professor Nordhagen turned and took a shot, watching in horror as a huge eye seemed to float to the surface of the amorphous monstrosity. His bullet popped the eye like a foul bladder of ichor, causing his gorge to rise, but he held it together, only turning to run when Valentine and Morgan reached his position.

Once Meyer and Carrington were past him, Tanj pulled out a stick of dynamite and cut the fuse, not realizing that he cut it a little too long. This turned out to be lucky, however, as his throw went astray, landing nestled in a side alcove. Professor Nordhagen knocked the dynamite out of the alcove, but it still wasn’t going to clear the party…especially after Dr. Carrington slipped and began to roll back down the slope. As Nordhagen and Valentine helped him up and ran with him, Morgan picked up the dynamite and threw. It detonated between Morgan and the shoggoth, causing the creature to hesitate in its pursuit. Carrington struggled over to the fallen Morgan, managing to bandage the worst wounds, and the unconscious man was picked up.

Nordhagen managed another lucky shot with his rifle and was aghast to see that, although the dynamite had visibly scorched the monster, fresh, clean, healthy skin was bubbling to the surface, slowly smoothing out the burnt parts. The whole group fled in abject terror. Back at camp, Moore and Starkweather recevied the news of this monstrosity nervously but stoically. They already had the pilots working on the planes for a departure, but now a more hasty one was desired.

This hasty retreat was forestalled when Dr. Greene never returned from a short-range expedition. Despite his wounds, a slightly patched-up and recovered Morgan assisted with tracking. Mysterious scuffle marks and a lack of blood seemed to suggest that something airborne had simply made off with Dr. Greene. A healthy feeling of paranoia began to suffuse the group.

As the expedition sat down for their last meal on the high Plateau, everyone was eager to be away. But the sound of an explosion from outside sent them running out…Professor Nordhagen even emerged without proper protective gear. He spotted a figure standing by the burning ruin of the Enderby. A single shot of Morgan’s elephant gun brought him down, although Carrington was able to save his life.

The figure turned out to be Kyle Williams, Acacia Lexington’s pilot. Although by his words, he seemed to be stating that he was part of a plot on behalf of Lexington and Meyer to kill everyone else, Dr. Carrington didn’t believe him. Through clever questioning, he coaxed out the story. Williams wanted them all dead, so that they would not be free to take word of what had been learned back to the rest of thr world. He said that he and Dyer should never have been allowed to leave, after what they’d seen. From his words, the Investigators realized that he was really Paul Danforth, the poor student whose mind had been unhinged and who had returned broken from the Miskatonic Expedition.

Kyle Williams = Paul Danforth

Starkweather and Morgan tracked back along Danforth’s route to find where he migth have cached supplies. Although the spot was located, they went in different directions briefly…but long enough for two Elder Things to seize James Starkweather and fly off with his struggling body, despite two shots from Morgan’s elephant gun hitting one of them. The supplies, when recovered, included Danforth’s journal of occult references that seemed to match what he’d learned the last time he’d been in the frozen south. They also included a sketch book that seemed to have belonged to Dr. Professor Johann Meyer of the BFE-Lexington expedition. They wondered if Danforth had already killed their former associates.

The supplies also contained the missing final chapters of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”, along with a note in German to Dr. Meyer from someone named Loemmler, hoping that Meyer would be able to sort fact from fiction and find use in the pages.

The Investigators regrouped and listened to Moore’s impassioned plea. The Elder Things had Captain Starkweather. They likely had Dr. Greene as well. They had all seen the direction the Things were flying…towards the Western Range. Fuel that had been intended for a search for the Belle and the BFE-Lexington Expedition would now be used to try and pursue…to see if Starkweather and Greene could be recovered. The Investigators, along with Doug Halperin as an extra pilot, took to the air in the Weddell on a desperate mission of mercy…



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