Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ghoul King

This is report from solo RPG session using Mythic GM emulator and Trail of Cthulhu rulebook.

Before I start, I would like to say something about character generation. First, I generated character using Trail of Cthulhu book, and then I have given a Mythic characteristic to each of them. All tests are performed using Mythic. Build points are used before rolling, to rise your Mythic rank in that ability. Favor points are used as always after rolling, to modify rolling result.

Character: Alex Perich, author, 35 years old, writer of horror novels, still looks for the right story and right publisher who will recognize its genius. Ideas for his writing he often gets from small criminals he hangs with, in the poor suburban neighborhood where he lives. It all happened in your home town, in the dark ages of year 1980, before cell phones, computers and internet… :)

Scene 1, Chaos 4.

Police is arresting Alex because of the murder similar to the one he described in his story...

Chaos roll: 4
INTERRUPT SCENE: Horror - NPC -- NPC action -- Adversity/Energy

In front of Alex one worker from electrical company died while repairing wires

Alex takes stability test for violent death. Can he resist?

Odds: 13/65/94
Result: 10 -- EXCEPTIONAL YES

He has seen people die many times. So he is indifferent to another death. He receives new strength: +1 shift for future tests for death of natural causes.

Alex approached the body. Can he see anything unusual (evidence collecting)?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 99 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Body as any other fried from electricity. Alex goes home and tries to write.

He can not, because accident left all neighborhoods without electricity. The problem lasts for more than a week and dark streets are getting more dangerous with each passing day.

There is unusual police activity in the neighborhood. Can Alex sense why (Sense trouble)?

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 20 – Yes

There was a recent murder in the neighborhood. It seems to be good material for a story, so Alex decides to ask around.

Did Alex know the victim?

Odds: 3/15/84
Result: 12 – Yes

Who was it?

Haggle/Plans

Victim was Mayki, local street rat who sold souvenirs, and who often used to offer to Alex map of buried treasure. Alex used to bargain about it, but the seller never accepted price lower than 10.000 Euro, and he never wanted to show him the map, so Alex thought about it as if this was their internal joke. Maybe the map was reason why the Mayki was killed?

Are there any street talks about the murder?

Odds: 7/35/88
Result: 31 – Yes

What?

Deceive/Travel

Few days earlier Mayki told everyone that he will be going on a trip. Therefore nobody was surprised that he was not seen on the corner for some time. But Mayki was found dead in his apartment.

Was he found by neighbors?

Odds: 17/85/98
Result: 97 – No

He was found by special unit of police that broke into his apartment. What are Spec Ops doing in the street rats nest?

Alex decides to check and goes to the murder scene. Place is sealed. Is there a cop in front of it?

Odds: 7/35/88
Result: 59 – No

Mayki used to drive his merchandise in hand pulled box on the wheels. By night he used to park it in front of the building and chain it to the staircase. Is the box on the spot?

Odds: 13/65/94
Result: 72 – No

Are there any evidences that it was removed or destroyed?

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 31 – No

6 favor points for Yes.

Alex finds part of the chain Mayki used. It seems to be eaten by acid. Alex takes the remaining part. There are no other evidences.

Alex tries to find out if anybody has seen anything in the time of murder. There are D6=6 other families in the building.

Alex nocks at the door No 1. Is there anyone willing to talk to him there? Streetwise, difficulty High.

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 88 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Not only the tenants will not talk to him, but they call the police. Do they arrive soon?

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 67 – No

Alex nocks at the door No 2. Is there anyone willing to talk to him there? Alex uses one streetwise point.

Odds: 9/45/90
Result: 94 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Not only the tenants will not talk to him, but they also call the police. Are they arriving now?

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 34 – Yes.

Police takes Alex to the station, where he spends the night. Interrogation is scheduled for the morning. Does Alex know interrogating officer?

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 22 -- Yes
RANDOM EVENT: Ambiguous event -- Control/Military

He knows him from street talk. It is not regular cop, but officer from special operations unit. So Spec Ops are conducting investigation considering Mayki’s murder.

Does Alex have an alibi for the night of the murder?

Odds: 7/35/88
Result: 91 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Alex had the writer’s block in the morning before murder, and he tried to solve it with alcohol. Last thing he remembers happen around noon. He woke up next morning in his bad, wet and stinking as if he was dragging through the sewers. He remembers nothing that happened in this 24h.

Are there any other evidences indicating that Alex was involved in the murder?

Odds: 17/85/98
Result: 88 – No

Therefore, cops have nothing to pin on him.

Can Alex learn anything new during interrogation?

Cap Talk test, above average. Alex uses +1 Cap talk point to increase his chances.

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 99 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Cap is extremely careful not to give anything. Something there is obviously marked as Top Secret.

Alex asks for layer.

Since there are no evidences against Alex, he is allowed to meet with his layer. It is Jeff, his drinking buddy who works as layer for petty criminals in the neighborhood. Jeff makes agreement for Alex to be let out without bail, with only condition that he do not leave town.

End of scene 1. Chaos rises to 5.

Looking for any clue, Alex takes peace of chain to another of his drinking buddies, chemic Calvin, who usually works for drug dealers. Calvin has a dream to discover new, powerful synthetic drug.

Chaos roll: 10 – as described.

Can Calvin produce some quick results?

Result: 11 -- Yes
RANDOM EVENT: PC positive -- Overthrow/Pain

Calvin can discover 2 things:

1. Substance which eat chain is organic in nature,

2. Calvin noticed immediately that substance is mind altering. Human who would digest it would become totally immune to pain.

Calvin asks Alex to give him chain for 24h, to perform additional tests. Alex accepts.

Alex goes home. He wants to wait for the night, and then break into Mayki’s place and maybe learn something new about the murder.

Anything happening before dark?

Odds: 7/35/88
Result: 25 – Yes

What?

Remote Event -- Pursue/Evil

With the first twilight, in dark alleys of powerless neighborhood, something started the hunt.

Around midnight, Alex armed with gloves and flashlight goes to the Mayki’s place. Can he arrive there unnoticed?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 44 -- Yes
RANDOM EVENT: Horror - PC -- Inquire/Energy

Upon entering the building, Alex turns on flashlight and by accident lights the fuse box for the whole building. All fuses are melted. As if it is not enough that whole neighborhood is left without electricity, someone wanted to be hure that this specific building stays dark. It looks as if the fuses are melted with the same substance as the chain Alex found earlier.

Once he came to the apartment, Alex discovered that someone was there before him. Police line was taken down, doors were broken open, and things inside were in chaos.

Can Alex find some clue inside the apartment?

Evidence collecting, difficulty high.

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 23 – Yes

What?

Arrive/Riches

On the table Alex finds something that looks like pirate map of buried treasure. Is this the map Mayki was talking about? If it is, why it was not taken or destroyed by the persons that searched apartment earlier?

It is too dark to read the map, so Alex takes it and leaves the place.

On the way home, will he run into the night hunter?

Odds: 17/85/98
Result: 54 – Yes

Alex hears screaming from the adjacent street. He goes there to see what happens (acting according the Drive!). In the moonlight, he can see the body of the woman, and some creature over it. Creature looks like human with a face of the beast, blood is pouring from his mouth. Alex interrupted the ghoul feeding.

This is mythic shock, so stability test is in order. Unnatural creature caused, so difficulty is above average. If failed, there will be loss of stability of – 4 points.

Alex uses 2 stability points.

Odds: 11/55/92
Result: 2 -- EXCEPTIONAL YES

He somehow always suspected ghouls exist. He receives mythic knowledge about ghouls (1) and has no need to test stability upon encountering them. What is the ghoul’s reaction on Alex? Will he continue to feed, paying no attention to the human nearby?

Odds: 17/85/98
Result: 6 -- EXCEPTIONAL YES

Ghoul has no intention to attack Alex. He even moves away, as animal letting pack leader to feed first. Alex feels sudden urge to join ghoul in the feast on the dead body.

Can Alex resist this urge?

Stability test, difficulty above average. If failed, there will be loss of stability costing 6 points.

Alex uses 3 stability points.

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 10 -- EXCEPTIONAL YES

Alex felt sick from the bare thought to join ghoul, so he turns and runs away. Arriving home, he locked the door, but he could not fall asleep until morning. He was thinking to report everything to the police, but he is afraid that they will not believe him.

Are there any news about murder on local TV station?

Result: 54 – Yes

Morning news is reporting that the local prostitute was killed by a pack of wild dogs.

Alex understands that something he though can only happen I literature just happen in real life (mythic revelation). One of his pillars of sanity falls, and he loses 3 points of sanity.

Punishment: -3

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 79 – No

Alex looses 3 points of stability.

For a while, Alex just sits, broken. When he finally finds strength to move, a map found in Mayki’s apartment falls out of his pocket. Until this moment, Alex has forgotten about it. Map is written in strange symbols, and Alex understands that it is ghoulish language. Is this true? It is easy language test.

Odds: 16/80/97
Result: 72 – Yes

Alex understands that he can read ghoulish (add it in know languages section). This discovery costs him 1 sanity point.

All this left Alex without breath. He also loses 2 stability points.

Where does the ghoul’s map point to?

Dominate/Travel

If we understand Dominate as:

tower above area: to overlook an area from a prominent and usually elevated position,

It points to the mountains, the famous touristic location Slide, only several kilometers away from the city.

Alex decides to go where the map leads, but not before he is ready. Also, he decides not to leave home without a gun.

Around noon the same day, Alex visits Calvin. Is everything OK at Calvin’s place?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 26 – Yes

Calvin deducted that chain was dissolved with the spit of some living being (Calvin describes it as Alien from the movie of the same title). This being is definitely a predator, since its spit contains both acid to dissolve and anesthetic to calm its victims….

He also created a drug that will eliminate all pain if swallowed, but the risk for it is madness (stability test if used, if failed, lose 2 sanity points). Also, if desolved in water, this drug turns to acid difficult to use.

Alex now knows that it is ghoul’s spit that the drug was created from. What if ghouls were not looking for the map, but left it in Mayki’s apartment for Alex to find it?

This thought makes Alex loose 1 point of sanity.

Alex decided to learn as much as possible about ghouls. He goes to public library, trying to find some serious literature about the subject. Can he find anything – difficulty high? Alex uses 2 library points into research.

Odds: 13/65/94
Result: 64 – Yes

Just when he was deciding to give up, Alex found something.

What?

Increase/Benefits

Alex finds a document from the state, claiming that family of late bishop Jonathan Perich from Slide village is free from paying taxes for period of 4 years, for bishop’s merits in banishing evil spirits that were stealing bodies from church commentary.

Have Alex ever heard about Perichs from Slide?

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 45 – Yes

When Alex was little, his father was planning to take whole family to a small vacation to Slide, where some members of his family live, but this trip never happened, so Alex never met them.

Alex asked some of his older family members to try and connect him with Perich family from Slide.

While waiting to hear from his family, can Alex remember some of his friends who are interested in mythos, and live by fortune telling in neighborhood?

Odds: 18/90/99
Result: 26 – Yes

Alex often spent time in pub with local medium called Ron. Alex used to tell him story plots, and Ron would change them from his „professional” view, and offer new ideas, mostly in cryptic form...

Alex invited Ron to meet in the tavern in the evening. He told Ron about everything that happened to him, taking care to tell it in such a way so that Ron will think that it is a story plot.

What is Ron’s professional advice?

Harm/Investment.

This is a cryptic message from the medium, and it will not be deciphered until Alex decides to use it.

GM note: I am implementing new house rule here. Player is getting advice from a professional. Once the player founds himself in need of this advice, he will decipher the message the way he sees appropriate, and then roll D100. This way the player will find out how valid was the advice (or how well was he able to explain it): 1-10 weak, 11-20 low, 21-40 below average, 41-60 average, 61-70 above average, 71-80 High, 81-90 exceptional, 91-00 Incredible). Ability received in this way player uses for test against task difficulty to see how successful he was.

Did Alex pass out from alcohol at the end of the evening?

Odds: 16/80/97
Result: 48 – Yes

So, next thing Alex remembers is waking up in his bed, stinking on sewers, again.

Did something happen to any NPC that night?

Odds: 18/90/99
Result: 32 – Yes

Who? 6- Ghoul.

What? Communicate/Anger

Alex remembered a dream. Or was it real? Ghoul was standing above his face telling him how angry he was that Alex didn’t joined him at the feast on the street few nights ago.

Alex loses 4 stability points and 1 sanity point. One of his pillars of sanity crumbles: Man is the master of his destiny. He starts to believe that all that happens to him is already written in the stars.

Then Alex gets information from his family, linking him with his cousins in Slide. They own a hotel build upon the basement of a church, where once legendary Jonathan Perich used to preach.

End of scene 2. Chaos rises to 6. Alex receives 10 fate points (29) for learning many new things….

Alex takes a bus and goes to Slide

Chaos roll: 1
ALTERED SCENE

Something happens before Alex’s departure.

What? NPC action (Ron) -- Desert/War

Alex is informed that Ron committed suicide. In farewell letter, he wrote that he has no strength left to fight daemons, so he is leaving to others to continue the war he fought, especially to his friend Alex. Ron definitely knew something about Mythos, and therefore Alex will have +10 modifier when testing for the strength of Ron’s professional advice.

Alex goes to Ron’s house, trying to find some additional clues before leaving to Slide.

Is Ron’s house guarded?

Odds: 10/50/91
Result: 75 – No

Alex enters the house.

What can he find inside?

Bestow/Power.

In Ron’s house Alex feels full of some strange energy. As if Ron’s spirit gave him power to fight evil that surrounds him. He recovers one point of stability, but loses one point of sanity. Also, he gets additional modifier of +10 for advice test.

Alex takes the buss and goes to Slide.

Is there anything happening while Alex is in the bus?

Odds: 19/95/100
Result: 44 – Yes

What?
NPC action -- PC positive -- Inquire/The public

Ron’s letter reached some journalist and was published. Alex has become famous. Perich family in Slide waited for him at the bus station and received him as a hero. They give him free room in their hotel, wined and dined him.

At first Alex was surprised, but then, next morning, he heard some loose stories from local people. It seemed that some strange things are happening in Slide, and locals are expecting from Alex to fix them!

Do problems include missing people and half eaten bodies?

Odds: 18/90/99
Result: 37 – Yes

Alex decides to fulfill his destiny and help people of Slide. His stability goes up one point, but his sanity goes down!

Alex goes to local library trying to find what Jonathan Perich did when he cleaned the village for the first time.

Harm/Advice

Jonathan Perich burned the church filled with daemons, and died in that fire himself.

What more can he learn from local legends?

Malice/Anger

Good bishop changed in his last days, once kind and gentle man became angry and rude towards the ones that loved him. He also started to change physically, his body started to shrink, his face, becoming longer….

This conclude Alex’s second day in Slide. Did anything happen that second night?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 97 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

Actually, last two days were especially quiet. While earlier sightings of ghouls were regular events, since Alex came to Slide none were seen.

In the morning of the second day Alex went to the place shown on the ghouls map.

Is it a cave?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 76 – No

Is it a stone altar on the hilltop?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 96 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO

So there are no buildings whatsoever.

Is this just a clearing in the woods?

Odds: 15/75/96
Result: 65 – Yes

What clues was Alex able to collect there?

Starting/Good

What?

Assist/The spiritual

Upon entering the clearing, Alex felt that he is at the right place. As if something inside him (possibly Ron’s spirit) told them that this will be the place where all will come to the conclusion.

Alex decided to return to the clearing at night.

He came alone, taking care not to be seen by the villagers of Slide. He also left his gun at home, knowing that firearms will be useless in this adventure.

Entering the clearing, did Alex found meeting site of ghouls?

Odds: 17/85/98
Result: 41 – Yes

Many ghouls were gathering on the clearing, feeding on human bodies. One of them left the group and approached Alex. It was the same individual that Alex met on the city streets.

For the second time in last few days, ghoul invited Alex to join the feast. Can he once again fight the temptation?

Stability test, difficulty exceptional. Alex has no stability points left, so he has to go with natural result.

Odds: 3/15/84
Result: 77 – No

Feeling the urge he could not resist, Alex joined ghouls and started to feed.

In the process he changed, losing his human form, and becoming similar to the other creatures around. Similar, but not the same. For looking at other members of his new race, Alex understood that he had become stronger and smarter than they are. In this feast, he was just crowned the new Ghoul King. Possibilities that were before him were endless. He understood that joining the ranks of Ghouls was a great investment in his future.

But then, Ron’s advice started ringing deep inside his head. Alex remembered why he came to the clearing this evening. He has to harm investment. It will not be easy (difficulty for the test will be hard), even if his assumptions are right. But how right are they (roll D100 + 20): 21+20=41 – average.

Test average vs. high.

GM note: since this is point of no return, I have decided to write both ending, one as if test was successful, other as if was not. Reader can choose one that fits better. So:

GHOUL'S VICTORY

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 82 – No

But maybe it is not the right time to do it. Maybe he should first enjoy being a ghoul king for a while. He can always change his mind later.

Alex was hungry. One ghoul nearby was eating human leg. Alex just pushed him away, and grabbed his food.

Alex feed first, then Alex attack Slide, then go attack town….

GHOUL'S FAILURE

Odds: 5/25/86
Result: 14 -- Yes

Alex roared at the sky, and the whole ghoul pack gathered around him. Following its leader, the whole horde moved towards Slide. Scared villagers escaped its houses at the very first sign of their approach. Village was empty.

Alex took his horde to the hotel, which once was Jonathan Perich’s church. He entered last, wanting to be convinced that no ghoul was left outside. In the common room, ghouls were waiting for the next command form their king. Alex approached the gas station, and opened the valve. And then, just as good bishop before him, he lighted the mach.

Great explosion was heard that night in the small village of Slide. Gas malfunctioning killed several natives and guests of the hotel, including little known writer Alex Perich. That was official explanation. But the villagers of Slide knew that there will be no problems with daemons in their small community, at least for several generations….

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