Call of Cthulu Play Report: The Haunted House
When I played this it was still October which meant more Call of Cthulu! Was hoping to finish this writeup before the end of spooky month but y’know the best laid plans of mice and DM’s and all that. This time it is a play report from my usual Friday Night Group which has 3 whole players who aren’t me! They donned their investigator hats, and their pencils and dove into Boston in 1925 to investigate an old haunted house. This is scenario that came with Call of Cthulu 4e. You can buy the 7th edition here using my affiliate link if you wish. Now on with the show!
Levi Shapiro - Mobster, the bag man.
Isiah Shapiro - Mobster, the driver. Brother of Levi. He only cares about 1 thing: Going fast
Sean Mc’Connory - Occult journalist for The Daily Planet. He investigates the ‘supernatural’ despite thinking its mostly poppycock.
Meeting at a diner (hey wait this sounds familiar..) with the man offering the job a Wes Hoyt. He informs the group that he bought an old house in 1920 and rented it out to the Schneider family. 9 months into renting the father went crazy and laid a fierce beating onto Mrs. Schneider and their children. The cops came and found him raving mad, so they hauled his ass off to the sanitarium. The preceding rumors have rented the house un-rentable for 5 years. Hoyt wants the rumors squashed or whatever it is presiding there exorcised. Sean assures him that it’s probably a bunch of hot air and people are prone to exaggerating. He tells Hoyt him and his friends, Isiah and Levi, will prove it’s just an old house but they’ll need it to be worth their time. Hoyt agrees to pay their standard rate plus expenses. Thanking them, he leaves the diner. Levi suggests they meet at The Usual Place to discuss matters further.
Across town at a speakeasy called The Usual Place the crew meet up. Levi informs Sean that The Boss has no need for this house, so the rumors weren’t just mobster BS spread to lower the property values. Sean’s surprised as he believed it would be an easy paycheck. Isiah piped in that maybe it truly is a ghost before going back to calculating tire pressure on his little notebook. The other two agreed in laughter. Sean asked them to get ready to meet there tonight, he decided to head off to the sanitarium to speak with Elias Schneider himself.
After meeting the receptionist and signing her paper, she was a big fan, he was lead back to the padded cell of Elias Schneider. The oderly opened the door and Sean stepped in. Getting his attention Sean decided to begin questions. After the mention of the house Elias started ranting and raving gibberish. The only intelligible words where “Told me to” and “Corbit”. Sean tried to calm him with a shoulder tap but Elias tried biting him, but was too slow as Sean moved his hand back and left noting the bloody stains and marks on the inside of the door. As he was leaving he asked the receptionist to send him any info on a Corbit in relation to the house or Schneider. He needed to do some work.
Back at his office Sean finished up some typing and was about to leave to meet the others. Opening his door he found the telegram man about to do the same. “Telegram, Mr. Mc’Connory” he said and handed him a transcription. The Receptionist came through and got him some info. The house was owned by a Walter Corbit in 1850. In 1865 it burned down to ashes and got rebuilt. Changing owners under mysterious circumstances it eventually made its way into the hands of Wes Hoyt in 1920. “Damn good receptionist” Sean noted as he stuffed the telegram into his desk and went to meet up with the Shapiro brothers.
Around 8pm they arrived at the house. Finding the door open they walked inside. They immediately saw an open door to their left but decided to try the light switch first. Nothing. They searched around for the breaker. They found it, shot fuse. But they found a spare fuse in the first room to the left, with the open door, and got the electricity.
Turning their attention back to the storage room with better light than a gas lantern they found nothing but junk and a boarded up armoire. They debated opening it but decided against it. “Time to rob the place later” they thought. On the end of the main hallway they found two sets of stairs, one going up and one going down. They decided to check the basement. After turning the lights on they surveyed the room. Clusters of boxes almost to the ceiling, tools scattered about and a room containing cord wood and bins of coal yet oddly no boiler. While wondering where the hell the boiler is they found an odd knife in the pile of tools. Mc’connory knelt down and picked it up to examine it closer. A thick foul rust covered the blade and as he was examining it he felt it tug at his hand, plunging for his heart. He yelped that the knife tried to stab him, “You don’t have to sell this shit to us, Sean.” Levi jested before getting cut off with a large thud. A box had fell over on Isiah knocking him across the back. “Ruined my oil level calculatin’” Isiah complained. Sean asked for a belt or something as he threw the knife into a tool box and bound it shut. “There has to be more here..” he thought as he examined the room. He noticed the western wall was boarded, but had tiny gaps indicating they weren’t the original wall. Tossing the toolbox to Levi, He tore a board free and was bombarded by a foul smell that was a mix of rotted meat, spoiled milk and death itself. A horde of rats swarmed from the hole, and they ignored the investigators and instead clamored up the stairs. The investigators quickly decided the rats probably had a point and followed after.
Sean went up first, followed by Isiah then Levi. Levi felt the stairs get yanked out from beneath him as they collapsed. He was able to hang on however and was hauled up by the other two. The knife began to emit strange screaming noises from within the toolbox, and outward dents starting forming. The ringing of steel with the screaming created a horrible symphony. As they ran to leave the door slammed shut on it’s own and the lights began flickering.Sean and Levi began Desperately clawing at the door, after a moment Isiah exclaimed “MOVE!” as he drew his Tommy Gun out of his trench coat. A few seconds later the door hinges where dust and they piled into the car. “To Father Flanagan’s!” Mc’Connory yelled over the clanging of the knife within it’s prison. As they put distance between them and the house the banging gradually stopped.
They pulled up to a magnificent Catholic church around 10pm. Not many people there, except Sister Martha. Mc’Connory introduced himself and asked her to get Father Flanagan, and stressed it is an emergency.
A few minutes later the father came out from the back, still wearing pajamas. Surprised to see Sean and friends all looking fearful he broke the silence “Something happen?” Sean explained what had happened in the house and that they have a murderous knife in the toolbox. Surprised the father took a minute to think and instructed Sister Martha to fill the basin with holy water. After filling it to the brim and tossing a rosary in they discussed their plan. Levi suggested they crack the box open just a bit, then slam it lid first into the basin causing the water to flood in without giving the knife any chance to strike back. They agreed.
Levi cut the straps locking the box in place and held it down with the lid cracked. An unholy scream echoed from the box, the holy water began turning a deep red and getting more and more viscous. Sister Martha and Father Flanagan where praying, stopping for nothing. Levi needed Isiah to help him hold the box down as it was getting more and more frantic. A few agonizing minutes later everything became quiet. A faint burning smell wafted throughout when Sister Martha found her rosary cross had been blackened and burned.
Taking a few minutes to catch their breath they asked the Father if they had anything stronger than a toolbox to hold the knife. Coming out from the back of the church a few minutes later Father remarked he thought the box was a joke when he was given it as he took over the church from his predecessor. They dumped the now rust-free knife into the box and locked it, deciding to sit it in a mausoleum out back hoping the box and the consecrated ground would keep the evil dormant. The investigators thanked him for the help as they went home to get some rest. The sleep was restless, nightmares of phantoms with long nails and fangs haunted their dreams.
The next day everyone met at The Usual Spot, looking haggard. They shared coffee and cigarettes as they discussed what to tell Hoyt. The Boss didn’t want any of the Shapiro’s names in the story, Sean was reminded by the bartender. After getting their story straight they went to Hoyt’s office.
Across town they where let in by the secretary. Sean explained everything to Hoyt who was horrified, and surprised when Sean explained he should go to the cops. The Shapiro’s gently informed him they should be left out of the police report. They let the implication hang in the air. Hoyt nodded and paid them, thanking them for their work.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this play report, and I look forward to playing more Call of Cthulu! This was my first time running it and I was very happy with the outcome and the players had a blast. Especially since they survived!
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