The Disappearance of Dr. Jones

The Disappearance of Dr. Jones

And Wider Adventures

Ithaqua

AKA: The Wind-Walker, Wendigo, God of the Cold, The White Silence

Shantak servitors

Related lower Gnop-Keh

Imprisoned under Greenland

High cult: Gnophkehs

Worship Ithaqua and Gnop-Keh

Low cults

Passive cannibals in Greenland (appeasement)

Active group “Lucid Sky” seeking to summon Ithaqua

Motivation

If released freely, Ithaqua would establish a fortress palace in Greenland and enslave humanity.

Possible clue: Carolean Death March (1718)

Lucid Sky Cult

AKA: Children of The White Silence

Mission

Seeking to summon Ithaqua to rule earth.  To overthrow the current world order and to be granted power under him; to become his chosen kings of earth.  Women of the cult wish to become mothers to his offspring.

Lucid Sky has chapters all over the world, including Boston.

Boston Chapter

Boston chapter is notable for having one live Gnophkeh in captivity which can be controlled by Felix Dixon for many dark tasks.

Leader Felix Dixon

[Check rulebook for stats]

Two spells: one for binding the Gnophkeh and another offensive/defensive one [check spells] – should be cold-related.  Probably taught to Felix by the captured Gnophkeh.

Gnophkeh

[Need to find monster stats for this – not sure it’ll be in my book]

Setting

Investigators are a group of Miskatonic University students who come to class one morning and find that their archeology professor and friend, Dr. Jones has gone missing.

This scenario is set in the town of Arkham.  Notably Dr. Jones’ small, 2nd floor apartment and maybe a little bit on the Miskatonic campus.

Bottom line: find out what has happened to Dr. Jones.

This is intended to be a short scenario where new investigators can try out their investigation skills, find a grisly corpse, get a decent scare by a monster and, if they make it out alive, come out with a couple of items of interest to study further.

The items they find in the apartment can then provide hooks to a larger campaign if desired.

Investigator Traits

As all investigators are considered students they may not have the usual set of starting skills.  Maybe ask players to pick their “major” as a primary skill, then one or two other things that they’re good at.  Take note of these to hopefully work them into the scenario at some point.

Basic Flow

  • Find out where Dr. Jones lives

  • Gaining access to his apartment

  • Gather any clues they can

  • Make it out alive

The Full Picture

Dr. Jones has been investigating the Lucid Sky cult.  The cult has discovered this and found that he knows enough about their plans to warrant decisive action.  The action they take is to order their beguiled Gnophkeh to travel to Jones’ home and stop him finding out any more.

The Gnophkeh has dispatched Jones in a most gruesome way and is about to return to the apartment to remove the body, coincidentally at the same time as our investigators have broken in.

An Unlikely Ally? (optional NPC)

If the party are short on members they could be joined (whether they like it or not) by a rather rude student by the name of Bobby Sutton.  The investigators know this student to be loud, disruptive and boastful.  Basically a bit of a dick.

On the way to their fateful class with Dr. Jones, Bobby will stop them in the hallway with some derogatory comment.  Once the investigators are done with this encounter he’ll shout after them, “Better be careful babies, people are saying there was a bear loose in town last night!”

Bobby will surprisingly resurface as the investigators approach the apartment of Dr. Jones by crashing from behind some garbage bins.  He’s been following the investigators.  “I don’t know what you guys are up to, but I want in on it.  I’m coming with you whether you like it or not.”  He produces a baseball bat.

Perhaps if the investigators are really struggling to gain entry to the apartment, he can encourage them to use the fire escape and smash the window with his bat.

Bobby will serve as a demonstration to the investigators as to what happens when you rush into combat with a creature from beyond.  He’ll be a passive member of the party, not really helping with anything but will attempt to dive straight into combat with the monster on his turn.  Hopefully the dice will show the investigators the futility of this.

Finding Dr. Jones

There are a few options open to investigators for finding the late Doctor, see below for some examples.  We want the investigators to succeed in this, so if they’ve tried a couple of places and had no joy, make sure the third one reveals the location.


Possible Locations of Interest

Miskatonic University

Library

Not much information to be had on Dr. Jones here.  Investigators could use the library after the encounter to research anything they might have found.

Clerical Office

This is the most likely place to gain access to Dr. Jones’ home address.  The receptionist will be unwilling to give out private staff information to students.  Some sort of persuasion will be required.

Investigators can try to break in later.  Up to the keeper as to how difficult that would be.  Staff files are kept in an unlocked filing cabinet in the clerical office behind the service desk.

Spare keys to staff offices can be found here as well.

Dr. Jones’ Office

Jones shares an office with another archaeology staff member.  Depending on the time of day there’ll be a 40% chance that the other lecturer is there.  At other times the office is locked.

There’s no information here relating to Jones’ home address but in a desk drawer there is a spare key to his apartment.

Other Staff

Investigators may need to ask a few different staff members.  If they don’t specify, a regular staff member has a 50% chance of knowing his address, but either persuasion or easy/moderate charisma check required to divulge.

If investigators specify that they’re looking for another archaeology staff member, chances of knowing go up to 80%.

Other students

Basic 30% chance of knowing his address.  No checks required.

Police Station

Going to the police is a fairly bad idea for the investigators.  Firstly, they will be brushed off, saying that Dr. Jones has probably just gone off on a field trip or holiday or might just be playing hookie.  Secondly, the investigators will be told explicitly to not go to Jones’ apartment; the police will take care of it.

If investigators approach police and then go to the apartment anyway, there could be later implications (keepers discretion).  E.g. investigators become persons of interest in the investigation of the murder of Dr. Jones.

City Hall

A long shot for any information pertaining to Dr. Jones.  Perhaps the city archivist has some records that would reveal his home address.  Up to the keeper to determine how difficult/successful this would be.

The Apartment of Dr. Jones

Dr. Jones lives in apartment 2B of a fairly run down, 3 storey building in town.

Gaining Entry

Got the Key

If investigators have the key, then it’s as easy as unlocking the door and walking in.

Hidden Key

If the investigators have no key, make a spot hidden roll when near the entrance.  Success means the investigator spots a suspiciously loose looking brick on the corner of the building.  Behind the brick is a key to the apartment.

Fire Escape

After spending a little time working out the layout from the back alley, the investigators can find a fire escape that leads to Dr. Jones’ apartment.  Up to the keeper to make this easy or not.  It’s the classic style of fire escape that would be somewhat tricky to reach from the ground.  If the investigators are struggling, the window will be unlocked and easy to open.  Otherwise it may need some persuasion.

The Neighbours

If the investigators decide to canvas the neighbours first, there won’t be much to be gained.  30% chance that the neighbour is home.  Then 30% that they heard something.  If they did hear something, it just would be that they heard a terrible racket the other night, crashing and shouting.  But it soon stopped.  No, they haven’t told the police about it.  That’s about it.  No one saw anything.

The Room

Dr. Jones’ apartment is in disarray.  Furniture lays broken around the room, shelves toppled, books and other items lay broken on the floor.  Also lying broken on the floor is Dr. Jones.  Eyes wide open in terror, he is motionless on the ground, blood is pooled beneath and around his body.  Worst of all, the top of Jones’ head has been crudely severed.

Please roll for a sanity check.  (1D6/0)

On a success or fail/success:

It’s hard not to notice the disturbing details: Dr. Jones’ brain has been scooped out and is nowhere to be seen.

Fail/fail means that the investigator will not remember this detail.  Only that something was very wrong with the way that Jones died.

If you discount the sheer wreckage around the room and the grisly remains on the floor, this seems to be a fairly typical downtown apartment.  Small and slightly run-down, little more than a single room with a bed in one corner and small kitchen facilities in the other.  A door hangs open to a tiny bathroom.  The only other furnishings in the room are Jones’ study desk, in complete disarray and a threadbare two-seat sofa that would look more at home at the local junk-yard.

It’s impossible to miss that one of the walls is covered in scraps of paper, news clippings, photographs and rough-drawn maps.  Intertwined between all of these is a spiderweb of red string.  It seems like a huge mess, thrown together from the mind of a madman.  (“On first glance” – if the investigators need a gentle prod) it seems to make no sense whatsoever.

Things to Find in the Room

Note: spread these discoveries out.  We want them staying in the room until the monster turns up.  Don’t have them find everything on the first turn.  Let them know that it’s going to be hard finding anything useful among all the wreckage.  Throw in a few red-herrings.  Maybe a bit of money.  A revolver (empty).  Dusty maps.  Animal skull.  Bullwhip.

A medallion with curious symbols.  This could be on the desk, on the floor or in Jones’ pocket.  Up to the keeper if a spot hidden is required to find it.  (See under Treasures for full description.)

An old tattered book with a very strange and somewhat disturbing cover, it just doesn’t seem right, like you can feel it pushing the back of your head when you look at it.

The wall map.  Here lies the biggest clue to a continuing story.  At first glance it is nearly impossible to discern any useful information at all from the map. Make it clear that it will take some time to work this all out, but there must be something here.  Investigators can use mapmaking or intelligence to decypher. Turn one: nearly impossible.  Turn two: difficult.  Turn three: moderate.  Turn four: automatic success.

Upon success the investigator finds a small scrap of yellow note paper with the following text:

Lucid Sky

Boston

Dixon

An Early Exit

If the investigators decide to leave via the fire exit, before the monster arrives, they’ll only have the evidence they’ve gathered thus far.  Maybe it’s enough.  If they stick around in the alleyway, soon enough the monster will emerge, if the players aren’t hidden they’ll be in trouble.

If the investigators are hidden, they’ll see the monster carrying the body of Dr. Jones to an open manhole, dropping the body down inside, and following after.

In the unlikely event that the players decide to follow, the beast will hear them, turn and advance as per the engagement below.

If investigators decide to leave via the front door, they’ll meet the monster on the stairs (no matter what turn).

Turn One in the Room

The investigators may each declare what they want to do.  Looking for clues, searching the body etc.

Investigators make a listen roll: on success, you hear a clanging noise outside.  You can’t place what it is.  Doesn’t seem normal.

Turn Two in the Room

Listen roll: front door opens downstairs.

Turn Three in the Room

You hear someone coming up the stairs.

Listen roll: the footsteps sound much heavier than normal.  Something feels off.

Turn Four in the Room

The door bursts open and a huge shape lumbers into the room.

Sanity rolls please (see monster stat block).

On a fail/fail: you can’t seem to move your mind to recall what it is you saw that day.  The memory is like a shadow that keeps darting away to the corner of your vision.  It must have been a bear?

On a succeed or fail/succeed:

You immediately think that what you should be seeing is a man.  It should be a man that did this; walk up those stairs and open the door.  A man that might have killed Dr. Jones for some cliche motive.  But this is not a man.  For a start it’s too tall.  Must be around 8 feet; it had to stoop to get through the door.  It takes a moment for your head to recalibrate.  Not a man.  Covered in thick, dark grey matted fur.  There’s blood.  It’s wide, and muscular.  But then it’s head, it’s face.  Wrong.  There are long ears, like a jackal or even a donkey.  Eyes that you can’t understand.  They glow red.  And instead of a nose, a sort of short, brown, leathery trunk like an elephant would have.  To describe it to anyone else would make it seem silly, like a joke.  But this is anything but that.  This is a nightmare.  There’s a strangled gurgling moan as it opens its mouth and advances.

Time to roll for initiative.  If an investigator is trying to work out the map, ask them if they’d like to keep trying to decipher it.  Tell them they’re very close.  If they spend this round searching the map they’ll get their clue.

If the investigators have heard the thing coming and have prepared themselves for ambush (and if the sanity roll hasn’t interfered) they will have automatic initiative over the Gnophkeh for this round.

Keeper note: I think it’s probably best not to remind the investigators that they can try and run.  Instead, it should be made clear before starting the game that death comes often in Call of Cthulhu and the main character of the game is the story.  It’s also a good introduction to the harsh reality of mortality in the game.

Escape!

If the investigators choose to flee (either via the fire escape or the stairs), the Gnophkeh will not follow.  If the investigators have not taken serious damage, it will take a final free swipe at one of the investigators.

If the investigators are doing particularly badly, then it might be the time to mention the idea of retreat.  If they’re on their last legs, the monster will not make a final strike.  (It would be nice if at least some of them live to tell the tale.)

Aftermath

You have managed to escape the horror that took Dr. Jones’ life and now know the truth about his disappearance.  Time now to recover from wounds, calm the mind and digest the frenzied events that have just occurred.  Yet, still so many unanswered questions.  What was the thing that killed the Doctor?  Where did it come from and why?  For all that is holey, why was Dr. Jones it’s only apparent victim?  What made him the target of such butchery?

Wounds and sanity should be recovered as per the normal rules.  While this is happening, the investigators may want to examine their treasure.  This could be held for the next session or carry on right now.

Treasure

The Medallion: the medallion is fairly simple, but engraved with strange symbols.  Immediate history/anthropology/linguist/occult roll: old pagan runes.

This can be further studied at the library or asking staff etc.  A failed roll means that it took a lot longer to work out and you end up with a partial translation: “the ____ silence”

Success:

The White Silence

Alternately: if the investigators have the note (but not the book?), the medallion could be inscribed with “Ithaqua”

The Note: it’s plain and simple in hand written english on a scrap of torn note paper: Lucid Sky, Boston, Dixon.

If the story is to continue, this should be the biggest clue to the players that they will need to continue their investigation in Boston and try to dig up some information on “Lucid Sky” or “Dixon”

The Book: the book is the most powerful of the three items.  “A Greenland Account” (english)

Once studied (standard research rules), it will give a description of an entity known as Ithaqua residing in Greenland.  1D8 SAN loss.  +8% Cthulhu Mythos.  +2 POW.  Possibly also a non-mythos spell.  Haven’t decided yet.

Monster Stats

SAN Loss 1D6/-

Armor 4 (thick fur and hide)

HP 17

STR28POW10

CON7DEX10

SIZ19APP

INT3EDU

Move8

Weapon:Hand/Claw45%1D6

Spell:

Freeze area (one use for scenario purpose)

Lowers temperature of immediate area to below freezing.

Each turn make a CON roll against 14 (hard).  Fail = 1D8 damage.

The monster will likely not need to use the spell unless completely necessary.  It should be able to overcome the poorly equipped investigators with strength alone.

Some NPC Names

Jody Perry

James Gonzales

AlonzoConner

Margaret French

Israel Kim

Javier Roy

Terry Hogan

Keith Griffin

WandaHouston

Milton Fuller

Sheryl Wilkerson

Daryl Todd

BobbieRice

Forrest Warner

Cassandra Dawson

Cora Bass

Herman Mcguire

Rufus Wise

Traci Edwards

Ernesto Carter

Margarita Caldwell

Stella Francis

Everett Bradley

May Baker

Estelle Miller

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