The nearest creature heard Ikil and lept to the attack. As the soldiers opened fire, several of them went slightly mad. Dudley—horrified by the blasphemous things—burst into a homicidal rage and snatched Jake’s BAR, and began to blast away. In turn, Jake simply started screaming while Hank found sanctuary in a childhood nursery rhyme he sang while punctuating the beat with inaccurate rifle fire. All was not lost, however. Ikil remained sane, and Dr Dudley showed surprising skill with the machine gun. Luckily, at that very moment, Leopold returned to the fray. The lone soldier had been lost in the woods. Hearing gunfire and American voices, he rushed to help.
The soldiers drove off the foul creatures after a desperate few minutes. While no one was hurt in the brief fight, several of the men were now running dangerously low on ammunition.
Hearing the feral scream of more of the leprous creatures in the distance, the Americans retreated into the darkening woods. Again, they wandered lost as the shadows grew thick amid the endless trees.
The Village of the Dead
Eventually, however, as dusk cloaked the land, they crested a hill and looked down into the valley beyond. Unbelievably, a village—seemingly untouched by war—nestled therein. No lights showed, and no one seemed abroad in the gloam. With the temperature falling and sleet beginning to fall, the soldiers crept down the valley and into the village.
From the hill’s crest, they had seen a church. Gambling that the building was the most defensible in the village, the squad made their way there. As they got closer, Leopold and Ikil spotted flickering light coming from under the church’s door. This was the only light they had thus far seen in the valley. Dudley crept forward and knocked on the door. He got no reply and so forced the door open.
The Ancient Church
Light blazed forth from the church’s interior. Candles covered almost every interior surface. A haggard priest wearing his full regalia stood at the altar. At the sight of Dudley, he screamed (in French) for the soldier to come in and shut the door. Dudley, in turn, gestured frantically for his comrades to join him. As they piled into the church, Dudley slammed the door shut only to discover they had been sealed by a blob of wax bearing a strange sigil.
Before this could be investigated, the priest started talking in broken English about the death of the village and the devil. As his ranting reached a crescendo, the sound of a vast multitude of rats reached the terrified soldier’s ears. It sounded like thousands of rats were crawling all over the roof and walls.
As this intensified, a strange crystal atop the altar began to blaze with orange light. Terrified, the priest started chanting while thrusting the crystal and a book next to it into Ikil’s and Leopold’s hands.
Then, all hell let loose.
The doors of the church banged open, and a great wind filled the nave. Pews were thrown around like twigs, windows shattered, and chaos reigned. Worryingly, a weird green light began to emanate from somewhere outside. Suddenly a large metal cross hanging from chains over the altar broke free and fell, impaling the priest. As the old man fell to the floor, the wind stopped as suddenly as it had started.
The danger was not passed. As the wind died, a low humming sound reached the characters’ ears. They recognised the sound as identical to that they had heard in the battle for the German trench. Now terrified, and certain of the church’s imminent destruction, the soldiers fled.
And not a moment too soon. As they fled, weird lights began to play in the sky, and the noise intensified. In moments, a bright flash lit the night sky, and a cacophonous rumble of thunder sounded. The church exploded, knocking the soldiers to the ground. Air—or something else—rushed back towards the now shattered church, dragging the soldiers with it. In moments, quiet again reigned and the soldiers—all of whom had been dragged across the village’s cobbled streets—struggled to their feet.
The orange gem flickered and went out. Seeing this as a good sign, the slightly stunned soldiers began to explore the village, but several of them began to feel uneasy—like they were being watched. When Ikil and Leopold heard whispering, and the gem again burst into orange life—they fled into the woods.
Crashing through the dark forest, they had only one lantern—looted from the German trench—and the orange gem for light. When the gem stopped glowing, the exhausted soldiers stopped running and looked for somewhere to rest. Quickly, they found a steep-sided dell. Tumbling into this relative safety, they fell to discussing their next move. Rest seemed desirable, but Hank remembered the old priest’s shouted warning not to sleep. As the discussion continued, Dr Dudley—the only one who could read French—opened the book…
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.