This is the first session summary of my run-through of The Haunting–an adventure for beginning Call of Cthulhu gamers. The adventure is doable in a single session (apparently) but I knew my lot would take longer!
Monday, 13th September
After the horrible events on Beacon Island, Special Agent Solomon Redwell of the FBI had spent the last few months seeing a psychiatrist. As part of his recovery she had recommended he tackle his fears. Consequently, he was developing a bit of a reputation as an agent interested in odd, or just downright bizarre, cases.
Thus he was not surprised to have a case land on his desk dealing with an allegedly haunted house. The file reported several people living in the house in north Boston had gone mad, and that the landlord was desperate for help. Clearly, this was a case for Solomon Redwell, but not something he could handle alone.
Redwell contacted his old friend Rupert Garfield II; after all, who better to debunk bizarre rumours of an unnatural haunting than a biologist. He also hired an engineer–Sam Stephanson–to investigate the house in case it had hidden secrets or structural abnormalities.
On Monday the 13th of September the team gathered in Solomon's grimy, basement office. Solomon was surprised to discover Rupert had brought a lady friend with him–the beautiful and wild Jezebel Slaughter. Jezebel seemed well out of Rupert's league, but enamoured with the quiet, studious biologist. Solomon, however, couldn't shake the feeling he'd seen the woman somewhere before. He was also suspicious of a large bag which she toted everywhere. It bulged oddly and looked much heavier than a normal lady's handbag. He was intrigued to see what she kept within–but that was a mystery for another day.
In any event, introductions were made, and plans laid. The four decided simply bursting into the house was unwise, and that it was sensible to uncover as much information about the place as possible: forewarned is forearmed, after all.
The four decided to split up and search for records of the place in various Bostonian institution. Sam, Solomon and Rupert kept to the plan, visiting (variously) the central place station, the offices of the Boston Globe, the Central Library and Hall of Records.
Jezebel had different plans, however; she wanted to scope out the neighbourhood surrounding the house. She quickly discovered the old house was the only home still on the block; the rest had been torn down and replaced with new offices and the like. Asking around, she met a street vendor who had dark and murky things to say about the old house–the Corbitt House as he called it. He also mentioned a ruined chapel–the so-called Chapel of Contemplation–stood only two blocks away, and this piece of news piqued Jezebel's capricious interest.
She found the ruin without trouble, but nearly had a serious accident while exploring the tumbled and time-worn, fire-damaged chapel. As she poked about inside, the ground gave way, and she almost fell into a forgotten basement. Luckily, Jezebel's reactions were as those of a panther and she avoided a nasty fall. Without climbing down into the cellar, she made an investigation of the place by dropping lit matches into the hole she had made. She glimpsed what looked like two skeletons amid the ruin and also discovered a strange sigil daubed on one wall in white paint that looked like three inverted Ys surrounding a lidless eye. Being near the sigil gave Jezebel a headache and she left the ruin quickly.
That night, the four regrouped in Solomon's dingy office to share their findings. Discussing the day's events and what they had found, the four agreed the house stood at the centre of a strange series of happenings. Many people who had rented the place had died, gone mad or fallen seriously ill. Clearly, something was amiss with the place!
Plans were laid for the next day. Solomon wanted to find out more about the old chapel in Boston's official record–he sensed it could have some connection with the old house–while Rupert was confident he would find more in the library. Jezebel and Sam, more adventurously than their fellows, resolved to check out the Corbitt House's overgrown garden and the nearby ruined Chapel of Contemplation.
Tuesday, 14th September
On a gloomy Tuesday morning, Sam and Jezebel made their way to the old house. Here they confirmed–seemingly–the place was at least cursed. Two bizarre accidents–Sam falling and hitting his head and an old gazebo collapsing on Jezebel–left the duo shaken, battered, bruised, and a little embarrassed.
The intrepid duo had more luck at the ruined chapel. Therein Sam, who bravely clambered down into the basement, recovered two old books. One–to his unsophisticated eye–seemed like a "proper big book," but its latin title defeated him. The other book was much smaller and thinner. The two made no attempt to read either book and returned to Solomon's office.
There they met Rupert and Solomon. Both had found records suggesting the house and chapel were linked. Solomon had discovered records of a hushed-up police raid that led to the deaths of many people at the chapel while Rupert had discovered that one of the old owners of the house–a Walter Corbitt–had apparently died of pneumonia and been buried in the cellar!
With this new revelation, along with news of the strange and fatal doings at the Chapel of Contemplation and the discovery that none of the group could read Latin, the four plotted their next move...