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Ep 3 - Play Results

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Session 1, took 4 hours and will take several more to finish as we'll be doing the Canadian side quest.

I mainly dealt with the aftermath of Ep 2.  They had captured two of the swapped students and I wanted to know what they would do with them.  

They lied to one (an ex-PC, now swapped) and convinced her to help them if they can get her husband back.  They claimed that they knew where her husband was and could reunite them. The other they committed to an insane asylum (Jason Trent).  They got as much info out of them as possible.   They tortured Jason Trent a little and that cost one of the PCs some San.

When Leon Pasqualle showed up, they were very paranoid, and decided to send one PC to shadow him (PC failed stealth roll).  After seeing him visit the Dean, the Library, etc.  Leon (made his spot hidden) confronted the PC and asked whether the PC would like to go with him to visit one of the other PCs in jail.  The PC watched as Leon started the ball rolling on dropping the charges of arson for the PC in jail (they burned down the farmhouse in Ep 1 and that PC confessed to the crime).  FOC purchased the farmhouse and claimed they were going to demolish the farmhouse anyway.

The PCs took Armitage with them (he owed the PCs for saving the library and also Leon had approached Armitage with a sizable donation to increase the security of the library). I did tell the PCs that Leon wanted a list of what documents the swapped students were interested in.  This fueled the PCs paranoia.  But I told them Leon's people were making copies (oops a bit too early historically) of the documents and didn't take them.  Armitage brought his handgun hidden in his lunch sack (he did this also during the library attack).  The PCs took the hint and brought weapons too.

Peter Murdoch rolled a hard success on a spot hidden and found a hidden switchblade on one of the PCs, so the other PCs handed over their weapons willingly to meet Michael Abelard.

After meeting him, they were still skeptical.  It was only after meeting the other team members and going to the basement lab that the PCs finally got less paranoid.  The PCs had questions about how they were able to capture the Mi-Go and how much voltage was needed to kill it.  So, I said they used bullets and electricity to capture it and it was held in a cage when they questioned it.  The weapons in the team kit and the knowledge that there's a separate strike team helped make them trust Abelard also.

So, when Michael Abelard asked them to investigate the occurrences in Quebec, they actually agreed to go.  That's where we ended the session.

The PCs did leave out some details from Ep 1 and 2 in their discussions with Michael Abelard which he will discover later on and fuel his paranoia especially when he finds out one of the NPCs (the ex-PC) they brought along is a swapped student. The PCs told Abelard about Trent, but not about the ex-PC.  Abelard's people will examine Trent and find a very faint circular scar around the brainpan that can be seen with a magnifying glass.  Abelard will use this as a check on personnel.  He will do this when the PCs return from Canada.  He'll also had already locked up the ex-PC and will question the PCs when they return.

Edited by morganhua
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Session 2 is wholly dedicated to the Optional scenario in Quebec, "Mission to Canada".  Time: 5.5 Hours for side mission.

They went to Canada and were convinced it was Mi-Go.  They went to the Justine's Hardware and bought massive amounts of camping gear thinking they'll have to find the Mi-Go in the forest.  I let them bring rifles and shotguns from the FOC as it would be legal for hunting in Quebec.

They visited the YMCFC and thought the priest, Father Dubois, was suspicious when they mentioned Anthony Cornett, but did't think he was the killer.  They thought he was hiding something.  They wound up hiring some hobos to show them the trails in the forest.  During that hiking trip, they did come across Anthony Cornett’s Murder Scene.  They also found Nathan Roche’s Murder Scene and the piece of black cloth.

They visited the mill Anthony Cornett worked at and were curious as to why he was fired.  I told them it was because the mill owner's wife's cousin needed a job, so they fired Anthony and gave his job to the mill owner's wife's cousin.  It would be nice to have on the map the location of the mill and the mill's name.  I added some paper milling details and also told them it smelled stronger of sulfur here.

"Centre Chretien Evangelique"  is on the map and I realized that Father Dubois had a church in addition to the YMCFC and it was located here.  The players also checked out the church.

One player disguised himself as a hobo and got into the YMCFC.  His goal was to snoop around.  The priest lured the PC to the Charnel House and due to a string of failed rolls, the PC expired in Dubois' hands.  The interesting thing was that since it was established that there was a YMCFC and Church location, it wasn't out of the ordinary that Father Dubois would take a hobo away from the YMCFC to "do some work."  It was just odd that Father Dubois took the hobo north to the Charnel House instead of to the Church.

The other PCs didn't notice Dubois and the PC leave the YMCFC (fumbled spot hidden roll), so they weren't able to follow Dubois to the Charnel House.  So at night, when the missing PC didn't signal the players that it all was clear, they entered the YMCFC with shotguns and searched for the missing PC.  They failed a STR roll on Dubois' locked bedroom and used the shotgun to open his door.  Dubois and the PC weren't found and the fleeing residents of the YMCFC notified the police.  The PCs fled and went into hiding.

When the PCs returned later in the night, a patrol car was parked in front of the YMCFC.  The PCs staked out the YMCFC and eventually the cop fell asleep and they sneaked into the YMCFC and Dubois' bedroom. They made Dubois tell them where the missing PC was (Dubois was hoping to ambush them there, so he told them the truth), but the PCs tried to knock him unconscious, and at that point it went into melee.  One PC went into dying from a lucky brawl roll from Father Dubois and another PC shot Dubois and killed him.  A PC tried First Aid on the dying PC and failed and then pushed the First Aid roll and succeeded.  We love the push game mechanic. When we discussed what consequence the failed First Aid roll would bring, a player suggested SAN loss for the PC trying to stop the bleeding from the dying character's broken nose that was drowning the PC in his own blood.  The PC would lose SAN as she fails to save the other PC with blood gushing all over her hands.

The police went to the Charnel House and found the body of the missing PC and the buried brains.  When told of the death, one PC got a Temporary Insanity. 

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Session 3 took 3 hours.  Total 12.5 hrs for Episode 3 including side-quest to Canada.
A new player decided that her PC would have Mr Abelard be her legal guardian, so I had him give her a warning about the other PCs as being untrustworthy and told her to stick with Morrison when they go to Vermont.
I started with having the players return from the Canadian side-quest, locked up all their weapons in the basement, and had Dr. Matherson examine all of them for Mi-Go scars.  Then took them upstairs to see Mr Albelard who debriefed them about their mission in Canada.
I decided that the only weapons available would be the security guards on the 4th floor, the locked up weapons in the basement, and Murdoch's 45 automatic that he carries with him.  Murdoch would have his sawed off shotgun in his room on the 6th floor also.
I let them read a couple of the books they stole from Blaine as they healed up from the Canadian side-quest.
I then had the champagne launch party and gave them an opportunity to socialize with the other NPCs.  All of the PCs drank and a number danced with Selena Preston.  I found some 1929 and 1930 music from YouTube, but since my microphone was set to Push-to-talk, I was only able to play some music for a bit before I had to turn off the music, but that set the mood.
Right after a PC said something ominous, I had the Deep Ones rip out the powerlines and plunged them into darkness.  The PCs followed Nekler back up the stairs when he saw the two Deep Ones coming up the stairs from the basement.  When they reached the 4th floor, a Deep One opened the door to the stairwell and blocked the way.  Nekler got a hard success and ran past the Deep One and made it up to the 5th floor.  The two PCs decided to run down the stairs and found the two Deep Ones on the stairs coming up, so they decided to run for the 5th floor also.  One PC tackled the Deep One and the other PC ran upstairs.  The PC who tackled the Deep One tried to run downstairs to the basement and didn't make it, dying in the process.
The PCs upstairs barricaded the stairwell door.  They then started to scramble up the private elevator shaft to the 6th floor.  Murdoch climbed up with Abelard over his shoulder in a fireman carry.  Once up, he gave one of the PCs his sawed off shotgun from his bedroom on the 6th floor.  He kept his pistol.  In the end, another PC died, but they killed two Deep Ones in the elevator shaft, so the rest of the Deep Ones decided to leave FOC HQ.
One interesting thing happened, at one point Murdoch handed his 45 to a PC as he climbed down the elevator shaft to rescue a fallen PC.  The gun carried 7 rounds.  The PC kept on firing 3 rounds each combat round.  On the third combat round, I told the character the gun went off and then click, click. Pretty neat.
Another observation:  At the end of Episode 3, only one PC survived from Episode 1.  The mortality rate for this campaign is pretty high.
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Sounds awesome :) but looks like they messed up a little bit in Canada, but I would like one of my PCs to die by the priest hand as well. Unfortunately the summer is in the way (trips, leavings) and we stuck after the 2nd episode :( and the 4th one in on the way.

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6 hours ago, Baniak said:

Sounds awesome :) but looks like they messed up a little bit in Canada, but I would like one of my PCs to die by the priest hand as well.

These were mostly new to CoC 7th Ed players and most non-veteran CoC players, so newbie mistakes were made, but I enjoy running for these players since they bring some interesting things to the table as newbies.  Some veteran players get into Delta Green mode too easily.  These players are staying in character very well for MU college students.

In Ep. 2, they missed following the car that was sent to bring back Kerosene and TNT (due to not having a car available) and when the car came back, they looked at the car, but didn't search the trunk and missed finding the equipment for burning down the library.  They were so close to finding it too.  Also they think staking out the brain swapped students consisted of watching them for about 30 mins at the library.  More experienced players would do a real stake out that would take days of watching and following.

But these players have more interactions with NPCs and they're pretty amusing.

In Ep 3, their main mistakes were breaking up the party into very small groups.  This works out when researching, but when staking a place out, they need to have enough people watching and enough fire power if something bad goes down.  I think they haven't learned that yet.

Also there were some very subtle clues that in Canada the deaths weren't Mi-Go.  The description of the dead bodies indicate the sawing of the brain pan is more crude than the Mi-Go high tech method.  In my game, I made the scrap of black cloth similar to the black cassock of a priest's.  If you read Ep 3 carefully, the black cloth actually matches a jacket in the Charnel House, Bedroom 2.  But I would have made it part of the priest vestments and given it as a clue if they had searched Father Dubois's office in the Church.  One of his robes in his closet would be missing that piece of cloth, unbeknownst to Father Dubois.

Right now, the players think with all the fire power that Abelard is giving them that they're transitioning to Delta Green mode and haven't figured out that they're bait.  I haven't given them any indication to the contrary and they expect to kick butt when they return to Cobb's Corners.  One player did mention that the students don't have much skill in firearms, but the replacement characters do.  Now that the Mi-Go have been revealed, I think they've forgotten about the Spooky children of Cobb's Corners.

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Thanks for the very detailed report, as well as your others, Morganhua, I have really enjoyed reading them.

On 7/8/2016 at 3:01 AM, morganhua said:
Another observation:  At the end of Episode 3, only one PC survived from Episode 1.  The mortality rate for this campaign is pretty high.

Yeah, I tend to write that way. :) You can always lessen the number of threats or possibly eliminate some encounters altogether if it's too much a meat grinder for your players.  I've run this campaign twice, and then watched as someone else ran it, and my regular group had a few deaths and total insanity moments, but they are CoC vets. The next group was a mix of vets and newbies and for whatever the reason, they had even less casualties, but then they were really cautious to the point of being paranoid about everything. The third group, not run by me, I'm not aware of their experience with the game, but I got the feeling from talking with them that they had played CoC more than a few times. They were a bit more gung-ho and bloodthirsty than my usual group, and it cost them. But they had two original investigators make it to the end, although one of them had to go away for a few chapters and get some much needed help at a asylum before coming back for the climax.      

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  • 3 weeks later...

Btw. Mimiograph was available from 1924 on as well as transcription with the wax and alcohol based "spirit duplicator" or "ditto machine".

Also, large numbers of doccuments could always be photographed for posterity, the negatives filed as print masters.

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