Friday, July 22, 2016

A Time to Harvest Session 6: The Hallowed Halls of Miskatonic

I don't know if I'm even technically running "A Time to Harvest" any more.  That's how far afield from the anticipated campaign we've gone.  We were down two of our regular players this week, but had a guest player (my friend Greg, in town for work for the next month or so), so it balanced out.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Darren Gray (played by Mike), engineering major and member of the fencing team 
  •  Perry Webster (played by Dan), journalism major, on assignment for the Miskatonic Crier 
  •  Oliver Goss (played by Dave), anthropology major 
  • Nathanlie Wingate Peaslee (played by Kai), folklore major, daughter of psychology professor Wingate Peaslee, granddaughter of economics professor Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee 
  • Nick Jackson (played by Greg), private investigator

Nick was employed to investigate the apparent suicide of Robert Blaine, found dead in his room with a pistol in his hand, surrounded by empty whiskey bottles.  His investigation quickly led him to Orne Library, where he soon met Nathanlie, Oliver, Darren and Perry.  While initially skeptical of their story, he found himself uneasily convinced once they began to talk to the other students who had been on the Cobb's Corners trip, and heard one of them say that Blaine had been a "weak link in the plan," and that he "had to be eliminated."

A great deal of discussion followed, and the investigators managed, astonishingly, to convince the agents to divulge what they knew and why they were in Miskatonic, inhabiting student bodies.  They learned that the agents were sent to find and destroy any books that might allow others to discover the outpost of the "Outer Ones" in the Vermont hills, as well as to discourage further investigation of a unique mineral sample found in those hills on a previous expedition.

Playing on the unhappiness of agents Keith Clark (his family having been killed by the Outer Ones after he'd bargained for their safe release) and the man, Wesley, whose brain had been placed in Clarissa's body, the investigators managed to successfully argue the majority of the agents into abandoning their mission and going off and living new lives in fresh, young, healthy bodies.

That's when Nick noticed a heavy book rising into the air, seemingly unaided.  Recalling having heard about the invisible assassin inhabiting Terry Laslow's body, he threw Nathanlie's sack of flour at where he thought the assassin was (managing instead to cover himself in flour), then lunged, successfully tackling Laslow to the floor and smearing enough flour on him to render him visible.

Having seen what Laslow was capable of, Perry jumped forward, placing the barrel of the gun he'd previously taken from Laslow against the assassin's forehead and pulled the trigger.  Nathanlie raced, arms full of books, to begin dropping them on the stairs leading up from the library basement to disguise the sound.

Oliver went a little mad at the sight of this, blocking out all memory of who these people he'd just witnessed commit murder were.  He tried to flee, but was stopped by Darren and Nathanlie, the latter of whom ordered him to just sit down and stay quiet.

When campus police showed up, Nick calmly showed them his PI license, explaining that he'd been tracking this man on suspicion of murder and he was shot while resisting a citizen's arrest.  The student investigators escaped into the Arkham tunnels, old smuggler's passages excavated under the city - as an engineering student, Darren knew the tunnels under Miskatonic fairly well, having assisted in the construction of an engineering students-only subterranean lounge in them.

From here, the students considered their options, finally settling on writing a letter to the "Outer Ones" and leaving it for them to find in an abandoned farmhouse that the agents had told them was to be their rendezvous after the library was on fire.  In the letter, they outlined a compromise - in exchange for letting the library stand, Outer One-approved guardians would be appointed to watch over the library and control access to certain books (most of which were already locked away in the restricted section).  The letter drafted and placed, the investigators settled in to await response.

The response came two days later in the form of a letter wrapped around a brick thrown through Nathanlie's bedroom window.  "Your terms are acceptable," was all that was written, in exceedingly neat block capitals.  That same day, it was learned that a fire had swept through the Geology department, with the sole casualty being Professor Learmonth, who had been involved in financing the Cobb's Corners expedition.

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