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Tremulus Session One “Arrival”

by on January 15, 2016
 

Tremulus Session One “Arrival”

By Charlie Etheridge-Nunn

 

Starring:

Steve as Detective Gerry Tinder, The Detective

Lee as “Dusty” Dawes, The Drifter

Jacob as Doc Roberts (not technically a doctor), The Salesman

Vinnie as Fred Barrows, The Gravedigger

Ash as Randall “Hands” Hersey, The Criminal

Hazards:
None, currently. Are you intrigued by what this section means? Good.

 

Previously:

Our investigators left their lives in Brooklyn, Boston and a not-so-fake fake seance in Beechwood. They have yet to find out what the mysteries are in Ebon Eaves, but that won’t last long…

 

We created the town of Ebon Eaves last session and I made a list of all the key locations we’d mentioned. To add more of a sense of place we stuck two pieces of paper together and created a map of the town. To begin, we had the coast line, a river and then everyone took turns adding elements. Then everyone just piled in. As the session went on we added more and will continue to do so, making this a kind of living document of the campaign.

 

Making the Map

I’d made some notes last session about the town and had some buildings which needed to be added. Then we expanded from there. The asylum, lighthouse and crypts offshore were all givens. The farmhouse Gerry’s family came from and the trainyard. The old and new piers, the newspaper office (The Ebon Eaves Eagle), the new cemetery. We created a couple of speakeasies, some hotels being made, a diner and so on. This picture is actually it after a few sessions so it’s a bit more full than it was originally. Ignore the red on it.

At this point there was an ‘ah ha!’ from Jacob. He had been studying the Basic Moves which are printed on the back of each character sheet and said, “Now I know what I’m supposed to be doing in this game. We’re investigators.” Yes. I mean, maybe it hadn’t been made clear enough but I didn’t care. He got it now and from this point was able to see where the game itself lived. They had found out that they were looking for ‘hazards’ and having just found one, the compulsion to uncover more had been unlocked. He took a piece of paper and would start to chart the hazards along with their relationships to each other.

 

We opened with Hands checking into an old B&B. It was a bit less of a B&B and more of a flophouse near the bad side of town. Gerry had given him the name of the place but hadn’t been in town for years. He parked his fancy sports car in a covered garage opposite the building, saw the front door was boarded up and went round the back. An old woman called Nora (played by Anne Ramsey in my mind’s eye) answered his knocking on the window, a couple of armed guys in the background. This was evidently the kind of dodgy place Hands was used to. He used, the “Convince” move.

Convince is as follows:

 

Convince

Powered by the Apocalypse games work in a way that you follow the narrative and if you need to make a move, you roll 2d6 and add the relevant attribute, in this case Affinity. Hands rolled a 7 which meant that Nora needed concrete assurance that he was good for the money. Hands forked over 1 wealth in order to stay. The door opened and the goons went back to their drinks. Hands joined them and met Forrest, a man who knew of some business in town if Hands needed the work.

 

We switched to Gerry Tinder, back at the family home. Steve established a few things. Gerry has two siblings; Mimi is younger and works in the bookshop in an attempt to become independent from the rest of the Tinder clan. Arthur is older and a farmhand expected to inherit everything when Pop goes. Gerry and his father had some words about his return. Pop didn’t pry too much, instead he mentioned a couple of things. He said that men in suits were buying up all the local farms but he was refusing to go and Gerry tried to let his dad know that he had his back. Pop just asked that this wasn’t like what happened in Boston. No, it wouldn’t be, but he would be staying a while. Pop mentioned that he’d put a good word in with Sheriff Parks in the morning, try and get him some local work.

 

Doc and Dusty were speeding out of Beechwood and nearly hit a camper van belonging to Fred Bellows. They made their way to a diner called Ruby’s, relaxing a bit now that distance was between them and the horrors they’d seen. Doc was still cradling the book though like he was Gollum or something. Dusty was still scared of the book and how it made Doc act, but was relatively helpless to do anything about it.  While there, Doc had a look around for any business he could drum up, eventually settling on a crowd of fishermen all round one table. He introduced himself, sounding like a vending machine from the Bioshock games and offering all kinds of potions. The eldest man there seemed in charge and fairly friendly, so Doc introduced himself and offered a rejuvenating tonic. It was graciously accepted and paid for by the man, Wendell Wilkins, who discussed a few things like how they’d been out all night fishing and how visitors shouldn’t go to the old north side of town, especially with whatever was turning the grass red. Doc, of course, heard only opportunity in Wendell’s speech.

Nora's B&B

Fred arrived last, staying at Nora’s place and watching a man cleaning his shotgun in their back garden. Obviously this wasn’t a good place for an up-and-coming gravedigger, but it was cheap and discreet. Hands went into town, met Gerry and told him to check out the Magellan Hotel where the ‘work’ Forrest mentioned was coming from. Gerry himself was having a problem getting the old town bullies who now worked in the garage to fix his unreliable car. Hands promised to sort it out in return for Gerry’s help, pretty much putting the poor detective between a bully and a thug.

Doc and Dusty were checking out the locals in the diner; a bunch of fishermen who had spent the night working. The eldest of them, Wendell Wilkins, offered Dusty some fishing work.

Speaking of fishermen, Fred went onto the wharf where the only boat to the asylum rested at the far end. He saw the fishermen’s boats and thought he could see a body under a tarp in one of them. Before he could react he was threatened and moved away from it, to the ferry. The ferryman was busy reading a newspaper and unwilling to travel until a set time.

 

Gerry poked around the seafront for any sign of untoward behaviour, only to find a dandy being pushed around by some thugs. He managed to get the man away from them and used the Read a Person move to gauge his trustworthiness. This guy was called Gilbert Young, a local entrepreneur who’d inherited a large building he was renovating right next to the new pier. He’d refused to sell the property to a businessman named Tommy Magellan. Tommy seems to predict things before they happen and buys up property no one even knew was on sale. This was the first proper hazard to get marked down. Gerry realised the time and ran off for his interview with Sheriff Parks who asked a few odd questions including whether Gerry believed in such as thing as true evil. Despite this, he was accepted into the sheriff’s office and told work started tomorrow. He also offered up Hands, saying the pair were going to meet later and the man was wanted back in Brooklyn.

After the first discussion of Magellan, there was a brief cut to the man himself and a couple of his goons getting on the ferry. Of course, that’s when the ferryman was willing to go, rather than when Fred wanted.

 

Then we had the big hazard. Doc and Dusty went to check out the trainyard and the red grass that grew there, just in case Doc could use it in one of his “medicinal” concoctions. Even the homeless people stayed away from the yard. It was the kind of place where life wouldn’t go… nothing except the blood grass. Poking around, there was an old train carriage which was tipped over with long weeds growing up the side of it. Doc went to see it while Dusty found a skeletal arm sticking out of the ground. There was a gun clutched tightly in the skeletal fist, pointing in the air. Dusty grabbed the gun and the finger bones scattered apart like the pistol was the only thing holding it together. He ran through the long red grass to find Doc.

Doc saw what looked like someone’s home in the open carriage. The mattress was old and growing fungus, there were white paintings over the walls looking like they belonged to a crazy person. A central figure in the paintings was a man who looking uncannily familiar to Doc… it was Dr Warren Whateley. Dusty reached him, panicked by the gun he’d found and eager to leave. Then the buzzing started. It was louder than any wasp and more organic than any machinery deep in the trainyard. There was a bang on the side of the carriage, then another. Doc and Dusty fled at fast as possible, unsure of the horrendous noises they heard. Dusty did his best not to look back but Doc fell and saw a beast… a gigantic red monster somewhere between a crustacean and a hornet, easily five feet tall and… You know it’s a mi-go, I know it’s a mi-go. The thing is, the group have seen miniatures of them in Mansions of Madness, we’ve seen pictures in Eldritch Sign, but in reading Lovecraft’s actual description of the mi-go helped drive home how horrible and unearthly these things were. So that meant running was the order of the day. Dusty went back for Doc, shielding his eyes from the beast. Then they fled out of the field and back to the car.

 

Mi-Go

As you can probably guess, that was the red stuff on the map.

Train Yard

Hands was relaxing while all this happened, pondering investing in a legitimate scheme, “I’ve heard of those!” he exclaimed to Gerry. The pair were enjoying an afternoon in town and Hands was pretty much certain that he would have Gerry as his man on the inside at the police station. The local cops were being a little too eager to follow Gerry though and he had to bluster his way through the conversation with Hands in order to keep everything cool.

 

Fred finally reached the asylum which as I said last session was TOTALLY NOT SHUTTER ISLAND. It was a beautiful old manor house on an island which had barred windows all along the top floor. Huge orderlies saw Fred inside and he made his way to the front desk, then to his aunt’s room. The orderlies were curious to see what would happen when Fred saw his aunt and let him up, but only for a moment. Dr Rodriquez ran the place and was obviously in the pocket of more intimidating powers, a coward and eager to get Fred what he wanted if it got him off the island soon. I didn’t want to butcher a South American accent, wasn’t sure what to do but ended up with a shit Dutch accent, kind of a bit Goldmember-like. Looking back on the campaign I realise now I did a different accent each time he appeared. I may have to keep that going with each of his appearances in the future if we return to Ebon Eaves.

 

Gladys was in a horrendous state when Fred finally got into her ward. Her room was covered in scratches in pen, then gouges in the wallpaper, then blood. Easels and canvas were strewn around with horrendous predictions, the bed was stained a kind of grey-yellow, having not been changed in probably a decade. There was a stench like a really unhealthy animal kept in captivity. Then there she was, long grey hair hanging down, a shredded nightgown, missing teeth and a haunted look in her eyes… Fred ran in to see her and that’s when he saw the extent of the craziness in the room. He tried to Puzzle Things Out (another basic move the players can do). The scratches are all intentional, there were mentions of a lawman in shadow, the sandman, the man with the book and the man of hands. Fred lost his composure and started shouting at Dr Rodriquez who fled. The door slammed shut on Fred and everything went black…

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