The soldiers fought on. Realising bullets had little effect on the walking skeletons, the soldiers laid about themselves with rifle butts and entrenching tools. As quickly as they destroyed the skeletons, more shambled forth from an unexplored area of the cavern. As matters became more desperate, Hank resorted to well-thrown grenades to destroy the attackers.
However, by now, most of the soldiers were suffering from multiple minor wounds; their greatcoats and helmets had protected them from the worst of the damage, but the skeletons’ numbers began to tell. With Jake fleeing in panic at the sight of something hideous amid the shattered body of the mummy-man slain before the altar, the rest of the soldiers beat a hasty retreat.
As the last of the soldiers scrambled up the pile of rubble into the collapsed German dugout, Dudley dropped a grenade into the hole. The grenade exploded, and the remains of the dugout began to collapse into the hole. As the soldiers scrambled into the wan daylight of the upper world, a wailing sound from the cave, followed by the top of the hill collapsing in on itself, seemed to herald the end of the horrible subterranean terror.
Into the Forest
As a cloud of fine grey dust rained down over the devastated battlefield, the soldiers took stock. Clearly, they could not stay here. It was quickly decided that returning to the American lines was in order. As the four survivors set off, they were reinforced by two more soldiers, Earl Martin and Emmett Ryan**, who staggered out of the forest.
The return journey was hard. The soldiers trudged up and down hills, through valleys and forded streams. After about an hour, several of the injured men were exhausted, and so the battered band halted for a rest.
Their rest was disturbed by a terrified man bursting from a nearby bush. The man wore a German officer’s uniform, so Ikil and Jake shot him. As he died, he muttered something, but no one could understand German. Dudley investigated the body and discovered the man had suffered a slashing wound similar to that borne by several of the group. This revelation had an unsettling effect on the men. Had more of the skeleton things escaped from the cave via some other unknown exit.
Still, with no other option, the men trudged on in the general direction—they hoped—of the German lines. This was not to be a quick journey, however, and disaster struck when the group realised that Leopold was missing and nowhere to be found!
Another (Curious) Battlefield
Shortly after killing the German officer, the band of survivors discovered another battlefield. Bodies lay everywhere, and their placement told a strange story. It seemed that a combined group of American and Germans soldiers had trapped and killed another group of German soldiers in a shell crater. Just what was going on? Strangely, many of the dead bore multiple wounds that would have proved fatal. The Germans in the crater had been literally torn apart. What had happened was impossible to tell, but clearly, someone had survived the battle. No salvageable equipment remained, and drag marks suggested many bodies had been dragged away.
With nothing more to be learnt, the soldiers continued on their way. As dusk fell, they struggled from the gloomy wood into another clearing. This place was again the scene of a terrible battle. The stench of death hung in the air, and the bodies of the fallen littered the ground. Shapes moved among the carnage. Initially, Ikil thought they were peasants looting the dead, but when one of the figures looked up, the normally implacable soldier momentarily lost his cool. The thing—a grey, leprous and hairless humanoid—had an arm in its mouth, and it was chewing on its grizzly meal. Shocked, Ikil dropped his rifle as he realised more of the things—perhaps as many as a dozen—lurked in the soldiers’ immediate vicinity…
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.