Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Achtung! Cthulhu: The Book of Eibon (A Study of the End - Part 1)

It's been a couple of weeks since I ran this particular session, so bear with me if it's a tad disjointed.

One More 'R' - Research

Where we last left off, the PCs set up shop in a German-held base in Northern France for two weeks. They took this time to study their newly acquired Book of Eibon and to get a better grasp of what was going on.

Based on what they wanted to do, I had the players roll their appropriate skill, and doled out "facts" based on how many shifts they got – while not keeping any information that would prevent forward progress.

Oberst Loeb pulls all his military contacts, rolls well, and finds out all he can about the NON-occult side of the Black Sun (anything not in parentheses).

New "Facts" about the Black Sun (most of these came out of the Achtung! Cthulhu Fate Keeper's Guide):
  • Reinhardt Weissler starts The Order of the Black Sun in 1921 (after disappearing in 1890, learning under Nyarlathotep in the Dreamlands, returning after 25 years, and joining the Thule Society)
  • (The actual Black Sun is Yog-Shoggoth trapped in the Dreamlands by the Hyperboreans)
  • (The goal of the organization is to bring the Black Sun into the waking world)
  • The Black Sun and the Nazi Party join forces in 1933 under the Ahnenerbe
  • Heinrich Himmler takes oversees it in 1935
  • In 1936, Weissler shuts himself away for six moths to study all the accumulated manuscripts - Mina Wolff takes over in his stead, studies the accumulated physical artifacts, and starts the Nachtwölfe
I also answered any organization questions Loeb's player had, such as: Where is their base of operations? (Wewelsburg Castle) Who's in charge? (Weissler and his Priors) Etc.

In a drunken bender, Gerulf keeps his ear to the ground for rumors. He rolled okay, so I gave him the first two items below:

Miscellaneous rumors:
  • Some personnel have been asking about the PCs
  • Small groups of American special forces have been spotted in Northern France
  • Black Sun patches have been seen on some uniforms on base
  • A large German force has deployed via tramp steamer from the French coast
Gerty, Yu, and Dr. Heidelberg take turns reading the Book of Eibon and researching related information, specifically Hyperborea. I wanted to make sure they got ALL of the following information, so I handed it out according to their rolls and questions:

New "Facts" about Hyperborea: 
  • Hyperborea existed 40-45 million years ago in the Eocene Epoch
  • It was all forests and jungles then - most fossils from that time are buried under ice now
  • Since then, Magnetic North has shifted approximately 5º N and 95º W
  • Black Sun leaders believe they can bring the actual Black Sun into the physical world by creating a tear between the two worlds with the Dread Equinox spell.
  • This must happen in Hyperborea on the day with the longest night – the Winter Solstice
  • The Northern Winter Solstice is December 21, 1942 – in TWO DAYS
Based on the "Wo ist Hyperborea?" page of the Torn Notebook Pages, the players were pretty convinced that Hyperborea is/was located at or near the North Pole. Knowing that Hyperborea's Magnetic North Pole has wandered approximately 5º N and 95º W, they just needed to find out where the current Magnetic North Pole is (in 1942)...

More Props! (...or Too Much of a Good Thing)

That's where this paper on The Harmonic Analysis of the Earth's Magnetic Field, for Epoch 1942 comes in! It spells out 1942's Magnetic North Pole at approximately 76º N, 103º W. I printed out an abridged version of that paper and handed it to the players. Unfortunately, there were so many other numbers and formulas, the pertinent data got lost in information overload. What I should have done is taken a red wax pencil and circled the specific pertinent information in the table on the second to last page (page numbered 429).

Taking the Magnetic North of 1942 of approximately 76º N, 103º W and subtracting the 5º N, 95º W shift of the Hyperborean North Pole, that puts the its current location at 71º N, 8º W. Cross-referencing those coordinates on this lovely diagram from the same paper:
It puts it on that little fleck in the ocean – otherwise known as the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen:
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Mayen
Sadly, two of the players had iPads and punched the coordinates into Google Maps and got a very accurate blip in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Once I scrolled them over to Jan Mayen, then everybody got a wiki-history lesson. Ah well...

Aaand They're Off!

Now knowing the presumed destination of the Black Sun faction and having a two-day clock ticking down (the iPads said it would take four days...), Oberst Loeb gathers up a detachment of 16 infantry, a couple of trucks, and supplies and heads to the nearest German-occupied naval base in France.

Gerty and Yu decide to hang back another three hours to get as much out of the Book of Eibon as they can.

Enter the Basterds

At this point, the Black Sun knows that Team M has picked up the torch from Team K (Nachtwölfe) - both from spies on the base and the earlier weird radio call.

As such, they have once again tipped off the Inglourious Basterds and have them waiting in ambush for Oberst Loeb's small platoon.

I'll be honest with you – this was a mess. The scene was awkward. I started with "let's narrate" and it devolved into turns. I forgot mob rules for Loeb's infantry. Since two of the PCs said they were hanging back for three hours, I held them to it and the players didn't participate. And the payoff of using the Basterds didn't materialize. The only result was thinning out Loeb's platoon. Mess.

Best I can do is: mental note; future reference.

Back on Track

Upon reaching the German-occupied naval base, Oberst Loeb reinforces his troops to 20 and acquires a boat, setting course for Jan Mayen.

During the trip, Gerty, Yu, and Dr. Heidelberg finish learning what they can from the Book of Eibon.

Here's a nice German map of Jan Mayen:
As they get close to Jan Mayen, they can see flashes of light scattered around the saddle of the island. They decide to land the party on the southern end between Leuchtthurm Klippe and Cap Traill. The captain stops the boat outside of the reefs and sends everybody in via rowboat.
Once ashore, Oberst Loeb sends a team to scout ahead. They discover the aftermath of what appears to be a skirmish between Black Sun and British forces. British boats are still waiting on the North side of the island, but they also see a row of torches climbing Beerenberg Volcano.

Once it's safe to cross the saddle, Oberst Loeb orders everybody to follow the torches, and so the climb begins. Just below the lip of the caldera, the heavily beaten path turns North. However, a small trail also heads East. Loeb orders the group to follow the bigger path, Yu, however, stealthily peels off from the group and heads East.

Maximillian Loeb peers around the broken edge of the caldera and sees another platoon of infantry, various Black Sun officers and enforcers, and a circle of stones with ten robed figures being led by some sort of high wizard, just as he begins to lead them in a chant!

Gerty exclaims to Loeb that they have about a minute before all all hell breaks loose! Oberst orders the mortar team to set up...

Meanwhile, Yu comes upon four figures wearing red robes under their Union Jack emblazoned parkas. They don't notice his approach...

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