Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 16: The Black Rat and Chapter 17: Ab Initio

Although the seas are rough, the first couple of days of sailing are peaceful enough. On December 23, however, it becomes clear that the voyage home will not be without incident. Several crew members are dragged to First Officer Turlow for judgement. One, Humphries, says that he’s been robbed by Beakins and White, his cabin mates. He claims that two black opals have been stolen from him. From his descriptions, the Investigators know immediately that seeds of the Imprisoned God have been brought aboard the Gabrielle. A rapid radio message to Lexington and Moore aboard the Wilhelmina alerts their friends to the possibility that they may have problems as well.

They investigate, finding that the tobacco jar Humphries kept the opals in is oddly clean. Not even the smell of tobacco lingers in it. What’s more, they find odd corrosive stipling on the floor that leads beneath the radiator. They find that whatever it was ate through the floor, falling into a shower below, but they can find no teace of where it went from there. They alert Captain Vredenburgh about the possibility of the black stones being toxic, and, while he doesn’t fully believe them, he believes that they believe the stones to be dangerous. He okays them to investigate further.

Deducing that the seeds have become animate due to heat, they arm themselves with some of the CO2 fire extinguishers around the ship. They find nothing, however, until the next morning, December 24, when one of the crew, Brunel, is heard screaming in the steering engine room. They find him with a huge chunk of his thigh gone down to the bone. Carrington, Allen, and Roylott carry Brunel to the sick bay, while Nordhagen, Dezense, and Meyer investigate the open hatch to the engine itself. There, they find Beakins and another crew member, O’Toole, guarding a small black blob in a metal fire bucker. Horrified by the littlem onster, and tired of encounters with monsters, they thoroughly blast it with the fire extinguishers, bury it in sand from another fire bucker, and then dump it into the ocean, hoping that the extreme cold of the ocean floor will force it to go dormant. Nordhagen points out, however, that Humphries said he had two black opals.

Captain Vrendenburgh is quite furious about something being on board his ship, hurting his crew. He orders the investigators to deal with it, and they formulate various plans, including turning off the heat sources and waiting for the monster in the engine room, hoping it will be attracted to the heat. As more and more time goes by without incident, however, they begin to relax. Maybe both opals merged into one creature, they conjecture. As Christmas Eve dinner goes by without a hitch, they relax more and more. Until Tanj, hearing a change in the pitch of the dogs’ howling, runs out of the room, followed by the others and Fiskarson, the lead dog sledder.

They find Dutchess, a big black husky, clawing at the floor, clearly in terror and agony. Worse, they found a burrow in her belly, as if something had gone inside her with a minimum of blood. Fiskerson, weeping, holds his dying dog, and then shoves her away in revulsion as he feels something move under the skin. The dog’s carcass is sprayed with the extinguishers, and all is still…

...until a huge black blob, roughly rat-shaped by the size of a large cat, bursts from Duchess’ stomach in a shower of gore!

Horrified, the investigators try to subdue the creature with their extinguishers. They have limited success, until the creature, trying to attack Buffington, is captured in a metal bucket. They quickly blast into the bucket with multiple fire extinguishers, subduing it, and then consigning it to the ocean floor, praying that the cold down there will be enough. A radio message from the Wilhelmina confirms that the other expeditions are safe as well. Captain Vredenburgh verifies that they’re safe, then wishes them a Merry Christmas, heading to his cabin.

In Dunedin, New Zealand, the press rampage begins. They do their best to stay away from the limelight, but there’s too much of it to avoid. Back in New York, it gets even worse, as the mayor of New York City leads them to parties and parades, and telegrams of congratulations from their various states and countries are received. They note with some sadness that Starkweather would’ve loved to have seen it.

Some months later, they sit down to talk about the future with Nicholas Roerich, Professor Moore, and Acacia Lexington. Grimly, it’s agreed that future expeditions, but more secretive ones, will be needed to try and establish some method of communicating with and assisting the Elder Things left alive. The Construct Tower must be repaired, and the Imprisoned God must not be allowed to get free. In the end, everyone can only agree that there are no endings to this story…

...only echoes.

Chapter 14: Mission of Mercy and Chapter 15: Exodus from the Ice

Returning to the camp at the City of the Elder Things, Buffington brought the Weddell down in the main plaza. As they came in for a landing, they spotted someone in a parka waving a piece of red cloth at them from spotted someone waving to them from a tower off the plaza. Buffington and Tanj guarded the plane while Valentine, Carrington, Nordhagen, and Allen headed for the camp. To their shock, they found it empty, except for some blood, some shell casings, and some elder thing ichor. They also found an ote from Moore indicating that the elder things had been attacking them and that they’d moved to the tower from safety. As the group regrouped, they saw the figure in the parka running towards them, yelling at them to make sure they had big guns.

The figure turned out to be Patrick Miles, one of the Starkweather-Moore mechanics. Buffington and Tanj stayed on guard at the plane while the others headed towards the tower. As they ran, Miles explained that he was the last of the group still fully mobile. Professor Moore’s leg and hip had been crushed in one of the Elder Thing attacks. Ralph DeWitt, the other pilot, had a broken arm. Alan Huston, the other mechanic, had mangled hands from a vicious attack. And Halperin was still stark-raving mad. Acacia and her photographer, Priestly, were still off, photographing the landscape to concoct a story of barren wasteland.

The elder things had been attacking with a strange box that caused a blue-purple mist to flow out. This mist ate metal, and they’d used it on the Enderby, apparently unaware that the plane was disabled. The Elder things had been fihgting to maim and capture, not to kill. The investigators guessed why…more heads for the Wall of Skulls. Grimly, they helped Moore onto a makeshift litter, untied Halperin’s legs so that he could run, and then began preparing for a retreat.

As they did, Miles shouted that the elder things were coming, and he ducked into their refuge. They landed on the tower roof, and the others were nervous…this was something new. They turned on their mist machine, and it began to eat at the stone of the roof. That was enough. The expedition began to head out of the tower towards the Weddell. As they did, however, the elder things piped their horrible tongue, and something immense answered from below. They had called a shoggoth!

Halperin made the error of running away from everyone else too far, and he was snatched up by one of the things. As they emerged from the alley the tower was in into the main plaza, Carrington placed the Elder Sign they’d found earlier. This caused the shoggoth to hesitate, but only for a moment as one of the Elder Things swooped down and snatched it away.

A mad, sickening battle began. The elder things were deperate to stop the others from getting away, but they’d learned to avoid rifles. Still, they tried to use their box on the Weddell, only to have the operator shot by the rifles the party brought to bear. In the end, everyone made it to the Weddell...or at least almost everyone. The shoggoth caught up Morgan and Nordhagen and grabbed them. It didn’t try to kill them…they understood they were being collected.

But a well-placed stick of dynamite from Carrington caused the shoggoth to loosen its grip long enough for Nordhagen to wriggle away, and he made it to the plane. Carrington managed to throw his other Elder Sign to Morgan, who was still trapped. While the shoggoth didn’t like the Elder Sign, it would not let go. Nordhagen grimly brought his rifle to bear, ready to kill Morgan rather than let him be taken to the Wall of Skulls. Buffington got the plane ready to fly, and the others shot vainly at the shoggoth, again and again. Finally, as it began to taxi, Morgan managed to irritate the shoggoth with the Elder Sign long enough to break free, and he leapt onto the moving entry hatch as the others hauled him in. The Weddell rose into the air, overloaded and slowed, but bearing the survivors away…until they remembered Lexington and Priestly.

The missing pair were found, and the elder things stalking them were driven off. The Weddell was divested of all non-essential gear, including the seats, and the plane staggered its way across the mountains one last time.

Returning at last to Lake’s Camp, the exhausted explorers were finally away from the influence of the Elder Things. Those who needed medical attention, like Acacia Lexington (in severe shock), Professor Moore, Halperin, Huston, and Dewitt were evacuated by the Germans. Moore sadly bid farewell to his friends, knowing they’d meet again in the U.S.

Valentine and the other investigators took command of the Expedition from a very relieved Professor Charles Myers. Under their attention, gear and personnel, minus all the samples they’d come so far to find, were brought back to the BFE camp, the Tallahassee, and the Gabrielle. Rough weather delayed their way through the ice, but ultimately, they made it away. The Tallahassee headed for Hobart, Australia, while Captain Vredenburgh turned the Gabrielle towards Dundein, New Zealand. The hope was that, barring anything unforeseen, the Gabrielle would be ashore for Christmas, just four days away.

Chapter 13: An Arrow in Flight

Uncertain of what they would find, they began to make slow, sweeping flights as they sought out evidence of the Weddell. They suspected that the Germans would have to make for one of their supply caches, but they didn’t know where any would be found. They listened anxiously to their radio, and, eventually, found a signal in Morse code. It proved to be in German, and Professor Nordhagen was able to translate. It was Rucker and Baumann, the Germans they were looking for, and they were radioing their homebase for help. They headed towards the coordinates in the transmission, uncertain of how they would handle this confrontation.

The ever sharp-eyed Alan Q. Morgan spotted the Weddell, and they put their plane down near it, investigating it. It seemed to be in good order, but out of fuel, and it was landed about 3 miles from the cache. They searched it, locating a thick canvas satchel under the co-pilot’s seat. Within, several of the black stones they’d found near the Tower were located. This horrified Valentine Roylott, who understood from his connection that these were part of the unknown God being held captive by the Black Tower and the Elder Things. He knew these stones couldn’t leave Antarctica, or they would thaw and begin to weaken the prison. He took action, but the flat stone he’d felt growing warmer and colder based on proximity to the seeds shattered when he got too close. He hated losing it, as he feared other seeds might find their way off the ice.

When they came to the cache, they saw that the Germans had erected a tent. The Germans’ last radio transmission suggested that the Graf Zeppelin was on the way. Baumann emerged, and they held him at gunpoint, but they quickly realized that he was elated to see them. Somehow, he and Rucker had become convinced that everyone who’d gone to the Tower was dead, and they’d taken the Weddell because they felt it had been their best chance to survive. Baumann admitted to shooting Halperin, but only after Halperin had shot Rucker. Dr. Carrington examined Rucker’s wounds and helped ease the sleeping German’s pain.

The investigators then began to try and convince Baumann that everything that had been seen on the expedition needed to be kept a secret from the outside world. He was slowly convinced of the rightness of this, but he doubted that Rucker would agree. He and Tanj stepped outside to check on the cache to give the others a chance to get rid of Rucker’s evidence. Baumann believed that, without any proof of finds, Rucker would be dismissed by the German authorities. As the others removed the proof, taking it back to the Weddell, Dr. Carrington, left alone with Rucker, sadly came to the realization that Rucker couldn’t be allowed to live. He injected a small amount of air into Rucker’s bloodstream, knowing that, when he was airlifted to the Graf Zeppelin, it would likely cause a fatal, untraceable embolism. Rucker’s wounds were severe; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume he’d gone sceptic.

The investigators loaded fuel from the German cache into the Weddell and prepared to return and aid their friends. They also appropriated a radio, planning on dropping it at the Lake Camp to communicate with their other fellows. Baumann and Rucker were airlifted to the Graf Zeppelin, and the German authorities promised to send Junkers from the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition camp to aid those at Lake’s Camp.

Taking to the air, the investigators returned to Lake’s Camp just long enough to drop the radio. They explained to Samuel Winslow, one of the survivors, that help from the Germans was coming, but that they had to rescue Moore and the others from the high plateau. Winslow understood and told them the sad news that, during the earthquake, Josef Stolz, a BFE radioman, was lost in a crevasse, and that Professor Bryce and his assistent Cartier were buried in the fossil cave when it collapsed. The others were well-enough, although a fire that had broken out had hurt several men, including Doctor Professor Uhr.

Grimly, knowing that help was coming to those at Lake’s Camp, the investigators turned the Weddell over Dyer Pass to rescue their last few comrades on the high plateau.

Chapter 12: Return to Lake Camp

On the flight back, Acacia Lexington spoke with the others about her concerns. Everyone agreed that, for the good of humanity, no more expedition should be encouraged to come to the City of the Elder Things. Acacia agreed to take more photographs, carefully orchestrated to make it look like there’s nothing of interest between the Miskatonic Mountains and the Western Range. The others agreed to talk to their expedition, to get them to keep quiet about what happened on the ice.

The group returned to the Starkweather-Moore camp at the City of the Elder Things. It was clear that the earthquakes they had felt at the Black Tower had been felt immensely here. Many buildings had collapsed and crumbled, but they were able to put the plane down on the plateau. Acacia gently broke the news to Professor Moore, and he was clearly devastated by news of Captain Starkweather’s death. Their long, strange friendship was at a tragic end.

Halperin was eager to get the Belle back into the air to go and kill the Germans, but the Investigators subdued him and tied him up.

Just as one madman was subdued, another one escaped. Danforth, having wriggled free of his bonds, escaped from the camp. He was pursued, but something with tenatacles got ahold of him. Whether a rogue shoggoth got him or one under the command of the Elder Things carried him off to be fodder for the Wall of Skulls, no one could guess. With the human presence in the Antarctic dwindled, Buffington piloted the Belle towards windy Dyer Pass, his excellent piloting skills allowing the group to make it over in the rough buffering of the constantly howling gale.

As they flew over Lake’s Camp, they could see that the earthquake had done plenty of damage here, too. Fearful that the survivors would rush the far-too-small Belle, they decided to continue on their way, much to the dismay of those from the camp signalling them for help…

Chapter 11: To the Dark Tower, Part 2

A rather bored Buffington Meyer made his way into the tower, concerned for his friends. He had just arrived on the level with the jungle in time to hear yelling and a frantic whistling or piping noise. Acacia Lexington, Dr. Johann Meyer, Tanj Dezense, and Dr. Walter Carrington came crashing out of the jungle, followed shortly thereafter by Valentine Roylott, Allan Q. Morgan, and Albert Priestley. They were pursued closely by a shoggoth…smaller than the one they met in the tunnels under the city, but big enough to consume them all. Luckily, they were able to flee down the ramp, and the creature stopped at the top, returning to the “Wall of Skulls”.

Valentine, no longer, seemingly mad, explained what he’d experienced as best he could. He’d been part of the Construct that the crystals and plants and tower were all part of. He now understood that the Tower was essentially the controls for a trap set for a God. The Elder things had captured something immensely powerful and malevolent…something that must not be allowed to get free. Horribly, he knew that removing Starkweather’s head had begun the process of the tower’s failing. If they didn’t replace the head with a fresh, living one, the Unknown God would break free, which would surely mean the end of the world.

While the Investigators tried to absorb and process this information, (not to mention a brief, horrible discussion of who would be sacrificed to take care of the tower,) a hideous piping noise, like two creatures in discussion, came from above them, coming down the ramp. Dr. Carrington tried to use one of the Elder Signs they had recovered to stop them from emerging through a doorway, but it turned out to be two Elder things, armed with serrated weapons like knives or swords, who attacked from the top of the ramp. The Elder Signs, their own creation, were unable to stop them. Roylott fired his gun at them and did some significant damage to the larger of the two, causing them both to retreat.

Dr. Meyer was seeming more and more irrational, and the Investigators were unwilling to give up one of their own to make the repairs to the Wall of Skulls. Dr. Meyer ended up shot in the leg and dragged, semi-conscious, to the Vat Room. There, the vat shoggoth emerged, consuming Meyer’s flesh and bones, depositing hish ead and nervous system into a basket. When they carried the grisly package upstairs, they were astonished to find that the shoggoth not only let them pass…it actually protected them from the furious Elder Things. The repairs made, the Investigators fled the tower.

On the way back to the planes, the PCs found more evidence of the strange black stones. Valentine suddenly remembered his locator stone. These stories seemed to be cold, but they caused the locator stone to get very hot indeed. His strange insight suggested to him that these black stones were linked to the Unknown God in some way…almost as seeds.

Back at the planes, they found only the Belle andDouglas Halperin, wounded and rather cracked, ranting about how and Rucker had tried to hypnotize him, as they had turned into Elder Things. They had stolen the Weddell and made off with it, and the Investigators traveled in great haste to catch them…

To be continued…

Chapter 11: To the Dark Tower, Part 1

Driven by haste and fear for the safety of their comrades, the Investigators, along with head pilot Doug Halperin, took the Weddell and flew in pursuit of Captain Starkweather’s abductors. Along their flight, they met with a surprise…the Belle joined them in flight and followed.

They soon caught sight of the flying Elder Things carrying their burden. Every once in a while, Starkweather seemed to move or struggle, so they held out hope for rescuing him alive. The Elder Things descended into a valley, into which they were able to peer. There, they spotted a tall, dark tower of stone, surmounted by a bluish light. Before they could land, a strange pulse seemed to emenate from the tower, causing them to seemingly hallucinate a time when the land was warm and tropical, covered in ferns, with a thriving metropolis covering it. This caused them some horror, but they managed to get the plane down without incident, joining the Belle on the ground.

They were greeted by Acacia Lexington, Albert Priestley, Dr. Johann Meyer, Herman Baumann, and Dr. Maxwell Rucker. Initial suspicion was soon at least partially allayed, when the Germans and Acacia seemed quite pleased to see the Starkweather-Moore group alive. They had spotted the Elder Things flying with their burden and flown to investigate. An alliance was soon cemented, and Dr. Meyer led the group, seeming excited and almost seeming to recognize where they were. Buffington Meyer, Halperin, Baumann, and Rucker remained with the planes.

The group descended into the valley and made their way to the tower. Along the way, Valentine’s stone heated up and seemed to lead to a small hole in the snow. A quick dig turned up a black, smooth stone, which they kept for now.

Inside the tower, they were stunned to find it quite warm. They removed their parkas, carrying them with them. A plethora of Elder Thing carvings covered the interior, seeming to tell a story of some importance. They revealed that the EldeR things had warred with creatures from the stars in the past and had often lost the battles. Eventually, however, they’d found a way to capture some sort of entity or energy and use it to defeat their foes. The Investigators puzzled over this but decided they must go on to have any chance of saving Captain Starkweather.

As they ascended, they frequently located sections of a crystalline matrix. At one point, Valentine touched it, and it seemed to cause him to convulse in a seizure. The tremors eventually passed, but Valentine seemed extremely confused, making inarticulate noises and seeming almost not in control of his body. He was led around by the others, because they feared to leave him.

As they continued up the structure, they found odd plants growing in places. Roylott seemed to have an affinity for them, stroking them and seeming pleased to be with them. They discovered an odd workroom, as well as a laboratory which Dr. Meyer believed he recognized from the expanded section of the Arthur Gordon Pym manuscript. As he was going to take a sample of fluid from a black vat, Allan Q. Morgan agreed to get it for him. When his hand came close, a small creature, similar to the shoggoth they had encounter in the tunnels under the city, shot up at his hand. When he retreated, it returned to quiescence. This profoundly shook Dr. Meyer, who lost his excitement for exploration thereafter.

They ascended a final area to find a place where the dome of the tower was cracked, letting snow and ice in. Here, a veritable jungle was growing and dying, along with the crystals they’d seen elsewhere, but many of these were broken. Roylott, seeming agonized, tried to reassemble the pieces, but he didn’t seem able to put it back together.

Exploring into the “jungle”, the adventurers found a hideous sight…a construct made of vegetation, interwoven with disembodied, but horribly alive, heads. Some were of walrus and penguin, but many, many others were human, including the heads of Dr. Richard Greene and Captain Starkweather. Overcome with revulsion, Tanj Dezense and Morgan wanted to burn it. Dr. Carrington and Prof. Nordhagen were more circumspect, and Roylott actively began to interfere with any attempt to harm or even approach the construct. Finally, Carrington drugged Roylott, and then, at Acacia’s request, helped her remove Starkweather’s head from the matrix.

All at once, a shudder rocked the tower. A panicked piping sound began, and something huge crashed through the undergrowth towards them…

To be continued…

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…

Chapter 10: City of the Old Ones, Part 2

The Investigators continued their explorations of the City of the Elder Things. Professor Moore seemed edgy, fascinated and disturbed by petrified wood samples that he insists could not have come from trees able to grow on the Antarctic Plateau, even when it was warm, due to the plateau’s height. Later that evening, they grew concerned to hear that Moore had succumed to mild frostbite on his fingers and face.

Mild Frostbite

Some of the finds they made that day included a grand white obelisk, and a triple row of huge dusky rose marble columns that seemed aligned with due north-south. They also made some small headway on translating the symbols of the Elder Things, recognizing symbols that seemed to indicate when the Elder Things first encountered early primates. They have also begun to understand how complex the Elder Thing writing is.

After some small forays over the course of the day, they went back to the central plaza and descended the sloping ramp that went down into the ruins of a tower. On the way down, they were able to examine a profuse amount of Elder Thing script. Down below, they found a chamber with many archways, most blocked by ice and rubble. By one, they found a yellowed piece of notebook paper, and they realized they must be at the point where Dyer’s text indicates he fled and escaped with Danforth after encountering a “shoggoth”. More disturbing, fresh triangular tracks seemed to suggest that there were living Elder Things about, and that they’d been here recently.

The footprints of the Elder Things

Proceeding cautiously, they began to explore, but under the ramp, they made a discovery that caused much alarm and discussion. A mound of snow, shaped roughly like a star, was found under the ramp. Excavating it brought out first one of the green “soapstone” stars, then the body of Gedney, the man who’d been missing from the original expedition. They’d known from the Dyer Text that he was dead, but Dyer’s text had indicated that they’d left his body deep in the tunnels, covered by a tarp.

This caused them to speculate. Did someone return and bury Gedney? If so, why, and why in such an odd manner? They postulated, and their theories did not help to calm their nerves. What if, they said, the bodies of the Elder Things back at Lake’s Camp hadn’t been interred by Dyer? What if the Elder Things had buried their own? And if that were the case, now it seemed they had buried Gedney, a human, in the manner that they used for their own dead. Was it possible, then, that they would be able to be communicated with? Reasoned with? The Investogators were unsure, but they intended to be cautious about using deadly force on their initial encounter with the Things.

Explorations down into the tunnels soon aided them in returning along Dyer’s path. They also began to notice a warmer air and a slightly fetid smell. They were surprised, however, not to encounter any of the giant penguins that Dyer had mentioned. They discovered the hemispherical room Dyer had described, and they worked out which tunnel he had encountered the shoggoth along. They also found several exits back to the surface, including one that emerged from a basalt pyramid.

The Basalt Pyramid

The hour had grown late, so they returned to camp. While unnoticed, somewhere in the darkness behind them…something stirred…

Chapter 10: The City of the Old Ones, Part 1

On the journey over the Miskatonic Mountains, everyone is in awe of their height and majesty. Allen Morgan and Tanj both claim to hear an eerie, high-pitched piping, but no one else seems to hear it. Everyone is shocked by the intense tailwinds the planes experience as they head over the mountain pass. When the Expeditions are ready to return, it will have to be by a different route.

The planes experience radio failure, as nothing but static will come over the radios. ((The rest to be added.))

Chapter 9: Balance of Power, Part 3

Stunned by the revelations of the Dyer Text, it is decided that there’s only one way to prove whether or not the Text is the truth…to go over the Miskatonic Mountains and see if the City of the Old Ones is real or not. Preparations begin at once for a trip over the mountains, and the investigators are chosen to be amongst the first group to go.

There are concerns, due to a strange smell coming from the oxygen tanks that will be needed for high altitude exploration, but some make-shift filters are created. It is hoped this will be enough. Once Starkweather rejoins the Expedition from his mountain-climbing, the group departs, about thirty minutes behind Acacia Lexington and the Germans.


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