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MoN 002: Up the Hill

Then came the real horror.

Only a dozen Americans made it up the hill and to the German trench. Hank was among them. Fate decreed he would find the largest German in the entire trench, but the tough fireman, with bullet and bayonet, made short work of the kraut.

However, strange doings were afoot. As the battle raged on, strange lights gathered in the sky above the trench, and a deep subsonic hum began to fill the air. The lights and sound intensified as the battle raged. Suddenly, a blinding flash erupted from the light, and the battling soldiers were blown from their feet and into unconsciousness.

After the Battle

Hours passed before the few survivors struggled back to consciousness. It was daytime—maybe mid-afternoon judging by the position of the wan sun. The few who survived the eldritch blast awoke to an utterly barren landscape. So complete was the devastation that trees in a 50-yard radius around the German trench had been knocked down. Strangely, it seemed from marks on the ground that after the initial explosion—or whatever it was—the trees had been dragged back up the hill a short way.

Observations confirmed the German trench was the epicentre of the blast. Not a soul, except Hank, had survived up there; the trench was full of dead Germans, and bits of dead Americans were scattered all over the hill.

After bandaging their wounds, the few survivors—Ikil, Dudley, Hank and Jake—searched the trench and surrounds for clues as to what could have caused such devastation. They found no answers, only more questions. Luckily, though, they also found six hand grenades and a few operable rifles amid the wreckage.

The trench had a dugout, which yielded yet more questions. A supply of papers was collected to be returned to the battalion, and also six dead Germans were found piled under a sheet. None of the six had any apparent wounds, but all seemed horribly shrivelled and wasted. As Dudley and Hank pondered this, the floor suddenly caved in, dropping the two soldiers into a cave below the dugout.

Into Darkness

Ikil and Jake, the latter of who was only just recovered from a sanity-shattering break from reality, cautiously approached the dugout. Seeing what had happened, they climbed down to help their companions. Could the cave contain clues to the strange “explosion” and devastation wrought above?

The cave was not natural; great stone blocks had been used to create its walls and ceiling. The cave had an entrance that led into a much larger cavern. Intrigued, the soldiers crept forward using a couple of lanterns liberated from the dugout above to light their way.

The larger room had many interesting features. However, Ikil spotted what looked like a man kneeling before an altar at the far end of the room. Scared by the strangeness of the place, Ikil shot him. The man collapsed instantly. Ikil shot him again. To make sure.

As Jake and Hank crept forward, the dust covering the floor began to swirl and writhe. Quickly, although no wind was present, the dust and grit gathered into a dense swirling cloud that instantly covered Jake and Hank. The dust got in their eyes, and the “wind” plucked at their equipment. This horrible turn of events shattered Hank’s tenuous grasp on reality, and the battle-shaken soldier fell into a homicidal rage. Quickly, he emptied an entire clip from his machine gun into the swirling cloud. Unsurprisingly, this had no noticeable effect.

Then came the real horror.

A sickly green light began to fill the cavern, and all the soldiers felt an alien intelligence caress their minds. As they fought to make sense of this new development, from a hitherto unseen alcove stalked a thing of horror—a completely animate skeleton. Ikil and Dudley blasted the thing with their rifles to little effect. Even a hand grenade thrown by Hank had no real effect on the thing. Eventually, Jake battered the thing to death with his entrenching tool, but not before he had sustained several nasty scratches.

The soldiers caught their breath while Jake looked wildly around for the machine gun he had dropped in the fighting. As the homicidally mad soldier laid his hands on his beloved machine gun, another skeletal horror shambled forth—this time from a different direction…

About this Session Summary

This post is a prelude to my 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign. We decided to run some “origin” sessions for some of the main characters, and this is one of them. Session summaries are posted in (game world) date order, so it will be some time before we get to the main campaign.

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This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.

About No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land is a Call of Cthulhu adventure from Chaosium set in the last months of World War I.

THE DATE IS OCTOBER 2, 1918. In France, soldiers huddle in hastily-dug trenches, faith their only protection against the never-ending artillery barrage. It is the time of World War I — the Great War — when mankind proves itself capable of atrocities never before conceived. As above, so below. Beneath the cracked and shattered soil of the Argonne Forest lives something that waits, lurking and feeding upon misery—something inhuman. Very soon the members of the doomed Lost Battalion will stumble upon this mystery older than Mu, and then the fate of the world will lie in their hands.