Monday, 30 September 2013

The haunter of the dark

And we return, briefly, to the plots from Lovecraft's tales and how they could be twisted to hooks for other games. When I started this, I was aiming at picking ideas that would be useful for a WW2 Cthulhu rpg setting, but as time goes on it's become obvious that these (and most of the previous ones) would also work well as ideas for other games as well. Anyway...

The Haunter of the dark

In The Haunter of the Dark, a cult based on Rhode Island use an ancient artifact, the "Shining Trapezohedron" to summon a being from the depths of time and space (your usual Lovecraft nasty). The artifact had been discovered in Egypt by Professor Enoch Bowen before his return to the US in 1844. It was used by a cult in Providence who would stare into the glowing crystal and summon an avatar of Nyarlathotep called the Haunter in the Dark. The summoned creature demanded sacrifice in return for granting knowledge of forbidden places and information.

At the end of the story Dr Dexter, our would-be hero, throws the the artifact into Narragansett Bay in the hopes that it would permanently place it into the light of day and the stars, which keeps the Haunter at bay.

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There are a number of ways we could use this, so I'll break it down into some ideas for different eras and games

For systems like In Her Majesty's Name, Pulp Alley and possibly even Dead Man's Hand if you fancied adding some oddness, you could run a number of scenarios surrounding the original story:
  • A secret cult has been guarding the trapezohedron, keeping the world safe for millenia, until this group of American archeologists come along and start digging up the burial site. Can the archeologists be stopped, or will the Haunter return from the darkness?
  • The artifact is on it's return journey to America, along with a number of other items, but the team need to stop off in London. A rival archeologist, cult or somesuch group decides they want something that is in the shipment and must be fought off
  • Upon reaching America, the cult in Providence needs to go and find some poor souls to sacrifice. Can they kidnap enough people from the foggy streets before the police catch up to them?
For a WW2 setting we're on shakier ground with the original story as the object is deep underwater by this time. However, it could have been recovered by divers looking for a shipwreck, or there could be a companion to it that wasn't uncovered by the original excavations. This companion could now be in the hands of Black Sun, a German occult group, and it's up to the investigators to retrieve the object before their plans can be finalised.

3 comments:

  1. I like where you're going with this. You seem to have missed two central scenarios

    - can you capture the artifact from the cult and remove it from the board?
    - can you consign it to the depths before the cult stops you?

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  2. Good point! Also, do you actually *want* to consign it to the depths? There's a sequel to this story written by someone else (I forget who) where it turns out dropping it into the ocean is a bad idea is it will easily become buried, hiding it from the light and releasing the Haunter forever

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  3. Hm,,, You can expand it beyond WWII periods

    1960s/70s.
    In the decades since Dr Dexter threw the artifact into the sea the sands have shifted and the Haunter is now released. A special task-force from UNCLE/UNIT/Torchwood (whichever) is set up to recover the artifact.
    - a Find the Clues scenario. Discover the whereabouts of Dexter's last testament, which gives the exact location of the artifact.
    - Underwater adventure. The team descends to the depths.
    They have to fight against the extremely perilous environment, cultist minions, the denziens of the deep and possibly even the Haunted itself.

    Post-Apoc
    HEFT (the Haunted Elimination Task Force) is now the last vestige of free humanity in an enslaved and blighted world. They have to search for new artifacts, etc.

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