3 min read

MoN 060: Disaster Under the Desert

Another frontal assault did not seem like a good idea...

After a hurried discussion, the group decided the best course of action was to take the shack by force. While some of the party advocated for a stealthy approach through the cave they had used last time, the majority won the argument.

Moving into position, the group unleashed a hail of enthusiastic gunfire at the shack and the lorries parked outside. Using the superior range granted by their rifle scopes, the group could shoot at the people in and around the shack while enjoying immunity from return fire.

After several minutes, the three defenders lying under the parked trucks outside the shack made a break for safety; all of them reached the shack. To the defender's chagrin, this simply resulted in more gunfire directed at the shack. Eventually, the return fire from the shack abated. After waiting a short while, the group advanced in dribs and drabs.

Jacob and George were the first to reach the shack. Bursting inside with weapons drawn, they discovered the place abandoned. Sandbags had been used to reinforce the hut walls up to about waist height. A set of stairs hacked into the desert floor led down into the bowels of the earth.

Eventually, the rest of the group arrived and set about disabling the bullet-riddled trucks parked outside the shack. While they did so, Jacob, followed by James and then Karl, crept down the stairs. The rough-hewn stairs were unbelievably deep—plunging almost 300 feet down into the desert bedrock. A foul stench filled the air. George also crept down the stairs but did not go deeper than 50 feet down. Each of the three scouts kept a good 50 feet gap between them and their fellows. In this way, they cunningly avoided not all getting caught in the same ambush.

Jacob, James and Karl were never seen again, and only George escaped to the surface uninjured. Charles heard a faint sound reminiscent of a lightning gun from his vantage point in the shed covering the stairs, followed by a great whirring sound that filled the air. He fled from the shed, shouting for everyone else to get out. As the remaining investigators made for the nearest truck, a huge cloud of ebon bats burst out of the subterranean stair, blackening the air with their uncountable numbers.

After a few minutes, the agitated bat cloud subsided, and the creatures—caught in the dazzling light of the desert—returned to their underground lair. The survivors fell to discussing what to do next. Another frontal assault did not seem like a good idea, and it appeared that all was lost for Jacob, James and Karl. Thus, for good measure, and perhaps a little spitefully, the survivors blew up the shed and the head of the stairs using some of George’s beloved dynamite. “It’s like searching for Troy”, he again muttered under his breath as he threw the dynamite down the stairs.

However, such a group as this could not leave their friends to their fate—even if they were likely already dead—without at least trying to rescue them. Thus, the survivors decided to attempt a daring rescue via the cave they had discovered during their initial exploration. Everything hinged on the cave remaining undiscovered.

In a rare moment of good fortune, the diminished group discovered that the cave entrance was indeed undetected by the inhabitants of the sunken city. Cautiously exploring much of the ground they had covered during their last foray, they moved through the ruins. 

They discovered the statues they had burnt down during their last foray had been rebuilt. Moving past these statues without interfering with them, they entered a new tunnel. However, their forward progress came to a halt when they heard the excited voices of “many” people up ahead. They could not ascertain how many people were ahead, but it certainly seemed like a lot. They were in no state—with diminished numbers and low morale—to fight a pitched battle against a numerically far superior foe. Thus—with heavy hearts—they retreated, leaving their three doomed companions—if they yet lived—to indescribably painful, likely drawn-out and sanity-shattering fates in the dark beneath the desert.

Four days later, the dusty, subdued survivors reached Cuncudgerie. Leaving Vincenzo, Alice and Jeffrey to look after the trucks, the rest of the group retreated to Perth to rest, drink away the pain of so much loss and secure reinforcements…

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

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