Theatre vs. Gaming.

November 26, 2011

This is a bit of a stream of consciousness, so bear with me.

Apart from gaming, my other passion is theatre, and I’ve often thought that it has a lot in common with gaming (particularly RPGs and LARPs) .  This isn’t a revelation by any stretch of the imagination,  just look at the ‘What is Roleplaying’ section in any RPG sourcebook and you are bound to find some reference to acting/theatre or improvisation.

And it’s Improv and LARPing that I think probably mark, or rather, blur the boundary between gaming and theatre.

The theatre group I’m involved in, No Drama  Theatre ,  are a diverse bunch of folks (including a handful of gamers and former gamers) and as well as rehearsed performances we spend a lot of time on improvisation. We do weekly workshops where the participants are expected to improvise a scene or two.  We also have a dedicated Improv Troupe – Laughalot who perform short form Improv games (The short, funny games of the sort that you see on Whose line is it anyway)  but also Long Form Improv.

Memoir 44: mediterranean theater : No, wrong Theater.

No, wrong Theater.

 

Long Form Improv is a form of improvisation where, no points for guessing this right, the performance is longer. To be more specific the same characters and premise exist for the duration and it’s less likely to be laugh out loud funny than its short form sibling. There are certain structures in place for a long form in terms of the composition of the piece, the Harold is a particular variant that breaks the improv into segments with different ‘rules’. But diverging from these rules  is encouraged as the performers grow in confidence and can ‘feel’ where the story should go and sense the audience expectations.

What you end up with (IMHO) is a very freeform LARP with an audience.

What It comes down to is that the same skills are used in both places with different focus

  • Both groups are trying to create a cohesive story.
  • Both groups are individually playing a set character  (With the exception of the GM who is kind of a ‘bit part’ improviser!)
  • Both groups are playing to a broad setting/plot/theme.
  • Both sets of players do not know what is going to happen next, the story is molded as they go along.

Do the skills transfer? I think so.

Can an improviser learn something from playing a game or a gamer learn from improvisation?  I think most definitely so.

The Settings for games are so very very rich compared to the very broad strokes backgrounds that an improviser works with. Similarly the game mechanics (of an RPG)  will provide new challenges and opportunities  for an improviser, where they in the passed just mimed swinging over the ravine and making it  by the skin of their teeth, a little bad luck here means they are suddenly falling.

For gamers improvising, releases from the restrictions of a game mechanic with the ability to just  decide what will happen means perhaps reining it in a little for the sake of the story. Swinging across the ravine successfully, just because you can is perhaps not as interesting as the opportunities provided by deciding to put yourself in peril.  The other interesting dynamic is an absolute dependence on your co-performers, in a different way to the kind of dependancy built into a game. The stakes are much higher with an audience..

There are other synergies between gaming and theatre.  Many theatre warm ups and exercises  are  not so far removed from the likes of ‘Werewolves of millers hollow‘  (I’ve actually used this with our group and it worked well) or perhaps  Lunch Money.

 


RPG.stackexchange.com

October 23, 2011

As a software developer, I regularly use  stackoverflow.com and some of the other stackexchange tech related  sites.

But based on the good experience I’ve had with those I’ve started toying with some of the others.

Relevant to my interests are http://boardgames.stackexchange.com/ and http://rpg.stackexchange.com/

Both of those are in Beta, but are well worth a look, I’ve found rpgs is great, although still not quite at critical mass,

I’d encourage folks to pop over and have a looksee.


Irish Gaming RPGs

October 18, 2011

(Posted from an old draft, info may be out of date)

Idle hands do the devils work (which in this case seems to be bad statistics)

A graph gleaned from a query of Scenarios by System from the irishgaming.com scenario bank.

I don’t think its representative, the scenario bank is far from complete (through no fault of its maintainers I might add), but its probably the best reference barring trawling through convention rpgs on irishgamingwiki.com.

(The other category is made up of all the systems that have only one game logged against them)


Shadowrun : Positions Vacant

October 2, 2011

I recently picked up the 20th(!) Anniversary Shadowrun sourcebook so I was looking at some old materials I had for inspiration for a game. I found an old shadowrun ‘scenario’  I ran as a special event (with help from @fromthewaist) at the last (or perhaps penultimate, I can’t recall) Confess.

The idea was that it would be an alternative to the traditional 3hr sessions, which can take up a lot of and offer new players a chance to try out an RPG.

It’s a little stat light, but  I present it here for anyone who is interested in a quick Shadowrun, or is looking for a story seed.

Here’s the link to it, alas the character sheets have long since been lost so it would need some work before it could be used (although)


Masks of Nyarlathotep (Part 6)

May 14, 2011

( Completing the Cairo chapter of Masks)

As the attackers approached they split into two group, two men assaulted Fr. Parks, the remaining three charged the tent. Inside the tent Edwin, William and Francis were awakened by the commotion. Only Edwin saw the shadows of the approaching assailants and scrambled for his weapon.

Fr. Parks fired his holdout pistol taking out one of his attackers with a clean shot. The second man lunged for the priest and caught him across the chest with his blade. Fr. Parks stumbled but caught himself and wielded his now useless pistol like a club.

Even as Edwin and William drew their weapons, swords pierced the light canvas of the tent. Francis received a deep cut on his shoulder. Again the swords plunged through, Francis was stabbed in the back. Edwin fired his shotgun, a cry of pain confirming he had hit something.

Back on the dune the battle between the black clad arab and the priest raged on. It seemed to be going the way of the former as Fr. Parks struggled with his wounds.  The tide started to turn back with both Edwin and William taking out an attacker each, it was not long before the other fell too. Soon afterwards, Fr. Parks managed to reload his weapon and shot the last of the five.

A quick check over the belongings of the dead men revealed an assortment of vicious weaponry and that each man carried a medallion with an inverted ankh – the symbol of the brotherhood of the black  pharoah. It soon became apparent that their jeep had been sabotaged, but it seemed to have been done in haste and was quickly restored to working order. Fr. Parkes and Mr. Drake were brough to hospital in Cairo to have their wounds seen to, while the others took a well-deserved rest at their hotel.

Next morning Edwin and William had an unexpected guest at the hotel, he introduced himself as Leon Duval (GM note: another player character), a detective with the Cairo police. Leon had several question about Omar Shakti whom the investigators had recently been in contact with. While the trio exchanged information, Fr. Parks and Mr. Drake returned from the hospital. After an initial tense exchange the group decided to share with Leon the truth of their investigations in return for his assistance.

Moments after this decision had been reached, the groups planning was interrupted by a very agitated Janwillhem Venheulen. He pleaded with the group to return the Black Rites scrolls to the place where he had found them.  He did not calm down until the group relented and agreed to travel with him to the old city to return the scrolls. Janwillhem revealed he had been approached by a beautiful lady who demanded he return the scrolls, when he tried to reason with her she ‘changed’ appearance and became very aggressive. Subsequently he found himself plagued by cats who would hiss at his approach, follow him around and scratch him. The man was obviously at his wits end.

At the small temple deep in the old city, Janwillhem placed the scrolls back in the secret compartment below the statue of Bast and fled into the city, leaving the investigators to examine the intriguing place of worship. After some fruitless searching a woman entered the temple. Although a little surprised at their presence she told them how her mother had introduced her to the place and that she had come to offer a prayer for her missing cat.

Feeling a little uneasy in the strange temple of darkened alcoves and mysterious cats, the investigators returned to the hotel. Meanwhile Leon decided to scout out the mansion of Omar Shakti. There was little activity there but he did overhear two field workers speaking in hushed voices mention that something was going to happen that night.

Leon returned to the investigators hotel and relayed his discovery. After much discussion and debate, it was decided that there could be valuable clues  behind the closed doors of Shakti’s house and that, in this case, breaking and entering was justified.

Later that night as they approached the mansion they discovered large numbers of the fellhadin workers  walking the road to the mansion, the huge cast iron gates swung open and  several covered jeeps turned onto the road along with more workers. A hurried conference came to the conclusion that this odd procession could be more interesting to the investigators than the contents of the house.

The column of robed men grew a it proceeded to it’s destination, soon it was apparent something big was happening. Then in the distance the great pyramid of Khufu rose over the trees making their destination apparent. The investigators could follow closely no longer as they entered the open Giza plateau. The cultists walked to the sphinx and as they gathered a chanting could be heard. Leon translated from the Arabic : ‘Mighty is the god whose breath brings death and touch brings madness’.

Even as the chanting finished the stele in front of the sphinx shimmered and grew translucent, much to the investigators amazement. The cultists one by one walked into it’s glow and disappeared. Even though shaken by this sight the investigators bravely followed, waylaying a few straggling cultists and taking their places.

Through the stele the investigators found themselves in a small, enclosed stone room with a single corridor leading out. Down the corridor the flickering torches of the cultist procession could be seen. Adjusting to the new surroundings the investigators pressed on, noticing that the wide corridor branched at several points into further,wider corridors.

Fr. Parkes and Edwin August took one of the branches in the hopes of bypassing the cultists.  Taking the precaution of marking their progress on the sandstone walls as they went. After an eternity trudging through the eerie darkness they found themselves at a dead end and had to retrace their steps.

Meanwhile Leon, Williams and Francis pursued the cultist on the main trail, unsure if it was safer to follow the light of the cultists or  chance the dark side tunnels. Francis, leading the trio, thought he heard heavy breathing from behind. Looking around he saw, looming over Leon, a giant of a man with a crocodile head. Momentarily losing his wits  he raced away from it towards the cultists. William, wondering what had spooked his friend turned too and found himself joining the race to the cultists.

Alone and frozen with fear Leon listened to the dull, heavy footfalls and breathing, unable to do anything but continue his own slow walk. His common sense eventually made him break into a run and reach his companions, who had stopped just short of the unholy pilgrims. Turning to see what his stalker had looked like he saw only a dark, empty corridor.

Edwin and Fr. Parks were now within sight of their companions and upped the pace to rejoin them, as they walked they noticed images carved on the wall of such a despicable natured that their minds, mercifully, could not hold the detail long. The cultists now entered a widened area of  the tunnel leading to some huge steps. Already the unspeakable chanting had begun anew. One last turn off the main tunnel remained before the widened area. The investigators knew that the wrong decision could mean they would never see the light of day again. Francis,Leon and William followed the cult. Fr. Parks and Edwin, having the groups only light, took the offshoot of the main path.

Looking up the stairs the intrepid trio saw a gigantic room with pillars reaching up to a seeming infinitely high ceiling. The chamber was packed with the cultists. Again they doubted the wisdom of their choice and spoke in whispers of  returning the way they came, but to have come so far and return empty handed?

In the damp side tunnel Edwin and Fr. Parks shivered as a cold breeze passed over them. Suddenly their light extinguished and they were left in total darkness. they had to feel their way along the odd, slimy walls to the main tunnel.

Leon walked up the steps slowly, close behind him William Caltrow and behind him Francis Drake. Leon saw a raised dais with a sarcophagus sitting on it. he was about to proceed futher when he saw the creatures with the heads of animals and the bodies of men lined the walls.  Crocodiles, ibises, falcons, hippopotami and other animals revered among the ancient egyptians all blasphemously blended with humans.  His steps faltered. Seeing the same things William fled back to the relative safety of the bottom of the stairs.

Edwin and Fr. Parks arrived at the stairs. Ever brave, the good priest walked up beside Leon and surveyed the scene. Hundreds of cultists looked on as Omar Shakti stood on the dais behind the sarcophagus . Then Fr. Parkes saw the crocodile headed man standing to his left and exclaimed involuntarily. Luckily the cultists did not hear over the chanting but the crocodile man did. He turned his head so that a single eye looked at the priest head on. Fr. Parks stepped down.

Now only Leon stood near the top of the stair. He saw Shakti push the sarcophagus lid over onto some unfortunate cultists. He saw the beautiful woman wrapped in mummy rags stand up and take Shakti’s hand. He had thought Shakti involved in some shady dealings, murder even but he was not prepared for this, or what came next.

The mummy-woman and Shakti renewed their chanting and from the back wall of the temple something masive moved. In a few earth-shaking steps the Black Sphinx had entered the main hall. It bellowed, it’s five maws dripping saliva. Leon Duval smiled the smile of a madman.

The sphinx charged, killing cultists in its way, as it sensed its uninvited guests. The other investigators momentarily stunned by this beast nevertheless has the  wherewithal to flee blindly back down the tunnel. Leon did not.

As  the cultists pursued them down the tunnel, their ritual spiked clubs in hand. The investigators made it back to the room they started  in, realising they did not now how to return to the stele. The cultists bloodthirsty shouting drew ever nearer. “Nyarlathotep” said the priest, even as the first cultists entered the room.

On the plateau of Giza, four of five fled the ancient sphinx. One thought unanimous in their minds as they reached their jeep.

Time to leave the land of the pharoahs.

Leon Duval - Only briefly a member of the investigation team.


Masks Of Nyarlathotep (part 5)

August 3, 2009

Where our players take a trip beneath the great pyramids and for a short while gain a new ally.

Giza

As the attackers approached they split in two groups. Two of the men assaulted Fr. Parks, the remaining three charged the tent. Inside the tent Edwin, William and Francis were awakened by the commotion. Only Edwin saw the shadows cast by the approaching assailants and scrambled for his weapon.

Fr. Parks fired his hold out pistol, taking out one of his attackers with a clean shot. The second man lunged for the priest and caught him across the chest with his blade. Fr. Parks stumbled but caught himself and wielded his now useless pistol like a club.

Even as Edwin and William drew their weapons, swords pierced the light canvas of their tent. Francis received a deep cut on his shoulder. Again the swords plunged through; Francis again was stabbed, this time in his back. Edwin fired his shotgun, a cry of pain confirming he had hit something.

Back on the dune the duel between the black clad Arab and the priest raged on. The battle seemed to be going the way of the former, Fr. Parks was struggling with his wounds. Back at the tend the tide started to turn both Edwin and William taking out one of the attackers each, it was not long after that the last one fell. Soon after Fr. Parks managed to reload his weapon and shot that last man.

A quick check over the belongings of the dead men revealed an assortment of lethal weaponry and that each one had a medallion with an inverted ankh: The symbol of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh.  It became apparent that the Jeep had also been sabotaged; thankfully it was hasty work and was easily overcome. Fr. Parks and Mr. Drake were brought to hospital to have their wounds seen to and the others took a well deserved rest at the hotel.

Next morning Edwin and William had an unexpected guest at the hotel he introduced himself as Leon Duval a detective with the Cairo police. Leon had several questions about Omar Shakti whom the investigators had recently contacted. While the trio exchanged information, Fr. Parks and Mr. Drake returned from the hospital. After an initial tense exchange with the newcomers they told Leon what they knew in return for his help.

Moments after this decision had been reached the groups planning was interrupted by a very agitated Janwillhem Vanheulen. He pleaded with the group to return the Black Rites scrolls to the place he had found it.

Janwillhem did not calm down until the group relented and agreed to travel with him ti the old city to return the scrolls. He revealed that he had been approached by a very beautiful lady who demanded he return the scrolls. When he tried to reason with her she had ‘changed’ appearance and intimidated him. Since then he had been plagued by cats who hiss and scrape at him. Janwillhem was obviously at his wits end.

At the small temple, deep in the old city, Janwillhem placed the scrolls back in the secret compartment below a statue of Bast and fled into the city. The investigators stayed to investigate the temple. After some fruitless searching a woman entered the temple, although she was clearly a little surprised to find the investigators there she told them that her mother had told her of the place and that she had come to offer a prayer for her missing cat.

Feeling a little uneasy in that strange temple with its darkened alcoves and mysterious cats, the investigators decided to return to the hotel. Leon decided to scout out the mansion of Omar Shakti There he found little activity but overheard two workers talking in hushed voices mention that something was going to happen later that night.

Leon returned to the hotel and relayed this information. After much discussion and debate the potential to find valuable clues in Shaktis house warranted a little breaking and entering that night.

As they approached they discovered huge numbers of fellhadin workers walking the road to the mansion. They stowed their jeep in a nearby side road and followed on foot. The strange procession eventually led to the mansion, the huge cast iron gates swung open and several covered jeeps turned onto the road along with several more workers. The investigators decided to abort the search of Shaktis house in favour of finding out where all the workers were bound for. The column of robed men grew as it proceeded to its destination; soon it was apparent that something very big was happening. Then, in the distance the great pyramid of Khufu rose over the trees making their destination apparent.

The investigators could follow no longer as they entered the open Giza plateau. The cultists walked to the sphinx and as they gathered a chanting could be heard. Translated from the Arabic it was “ Mighty is the god whose breath brings death and whose touch brings madness”

Even as the chanting finished the great Stele in front of the sphinx shimmered and became translucent. The cultists one by one walked into its glow and disappeared. Even though shaken by this sight the investigators followed, waylaying a few straggling cultists and taking their places.

Through the stele the investigators found themselves in a small enclosed stone room with a single corridor leading out of it. Down the corridor the flickering torches of the cult procession could be seen. Adjusting to their new surroundings as they went the investigators pressed on. The wide corridor branched at several points into wider ones.

Fr. Parks and Edwin August took one of the branches in the hopes of bypassing the cultists, taking the precaution of marking their way as they did. After an eternity trudging through the eerie darkness they found it was a dead end and had to retrace their steps.

Meanwhile Leon, William and Francis pursued the cultists on the main trail unsure if it was safer to follow the cultists light or chance the dark tunnels. Francis, leading the trio, heard heavy breathing from behind. Looking around he saw, looming over Leon, a giant of a man with a the head of a crocodile on his shoulders. Momentarily losing his mind raced away up the tunnel towards the cultists. William, wondering what had spooked his friend looked around too and soon joined Francis.

Alone and frozen with fear Leon listened to the dull footfalls and heavy breathing, unable to do anything but continue his walk. His common sense made him break into a run abd reaching his companions who had stopped just short of the unholy pilgrims , turning to see what his stalker looked like saw only an empty tunnel.

Edwin and Fr. Parks were within sight of their companions and upped the pace to rejoin them. As they walked they noticed images carved on the wall of such a dispicable nature that their minds, mercifully, did not retain the detail for long.

The cultists entered a widened are  of the tunnel leading to some huge steps. The unspeakable chanting had begun anew. One last turn of the main tunnel remained,  the investigators knew that the wrong decision would mean that they would likely never see the light of day again. Francis, Leon and William followed the cult. Fr. Parks and Edwin , having the groups only remaining light, took the offshoot of the main path.

Looking up the stairs the intrepid trio observed a gigantic room with pillars seemingly reaching up to infinity, the room packed with cultists.  They doubted the wisdom of their choice and hastily spoke of returning the way they had come. The thought of having  to return empty handed after having come so far kept them to their course.

In the damp side tunnel Edwin and Fr. Parks shivered as a cold breeze pased over them, suddenly their light extinguished and they were left in total darkness. Unable to proceed they had to feel their way back along the slimy wall to find the main tunnel.

Leon walked up the huge steps slowly, close behind him William and Francis. Leon saw a raised dais with a sarcophagus sitting 0n top of it. He had been about to proceed further when he saw the creatures with the heads of animals and bodies of men that flanked the room on all sides. Crocodiles, ibises, falcons, hippopotami and other animals revered by the ancient egyptians  in an abominable cross with human men. His steps faltered. Seeing the same things William fled back to the relative safetly of the bottom of the stairs.

Edwin and Parks arrived back at the same time, ever brave the good priest walked up to where Leon stood frozen. They and hundreds of brotherhood members looked on as Omar Shakti stood up beside the sarcophagus. Then Fr. Parks saw the same creatures that so terrified Caltrow, he let out an unintended exclamation. Fortunately the cultists could not hear him over the terrible chanting, however one of the Crocodile men did and turned focusing a single reptilian eye on the priest, causing him to to flee.

Leon still remained, entranced by the bizarre scene, He saw Shakti push the sarcophagus lid off  letting it fall into the cultists below. He watched as a beautiful  woman wrapped in the bindings of a mummy rose from the tomb and took Shaktis hand. The policeman had known Shakti was involved in some shady dealings but nothing could have prepared him for what he now witnessed, or what came next.

The mummy-woman and Shakti added their voices to the chanting, from the far wall of the temple something massive  moved in the darkness. In a few earth-shaking steps the Black Sphinx had entered the main hall. It bellowed, its five maws dripping vile saliva. Leon Duvals lips curled in a  madman’s smile.  The Sphinx charged forward , killing cultists in its way as it pursued the uninvited guests it sensed.

The other investigators, momentarily stunned by this beasts arrival nonetheless had enough wits about them to flee blindly back down the tunnel,  the now crazed ,sobbing Leon did not. Cultists pursued the remaining 4 investigators with wicked looking spiked clubs back to the room they had arrived in.  They realised did did not know how to return to the Stele through which they had entered.  As cultists flooded the room the words “Nyarlathotep” came unbidden to the lips of Fr. Parks.

On the plateau of Giza only 4 of 5 fled the ancient Sphinx, the only unanimous thought on their minds that it was time to leave the land of the Pharaohs.


Masks Of Nyarlathotep (part 4)

July 17, 2009

This was my favourite session of the campaign…  and entirely co-incidentally the one with the highest body count!

Attached are some fine renderings of the events of the Bent Pyramid as depicted by one of my players  (Simon Caltrows player)  more of his work can be found here

The Bent Pyramid

The Night in the Clive camp was not uneventful. Late that night Fr. Parks’ sleep was disturbed by the sounds of movement outside. He awoke Dr. Caltrow who, in waking, made noise that alerted the lurkers outside that the occupants of the temp no longer slumbered. The next sound the investigators heard was the sound of people running away across the sand.

Dr. Caltrow decided to pursue them, however in doing so he neglected to notice the two asps in the front entrance to their tent. One of them gave him a nasty bite, in panic he fled to the back of the tent, waking Edwin August and uprooting one of the tents supports.

Reacting quickly Fr. Parks threw his blanked over the asps and proceeded to beat it with his valise. The camp began to come alive as it’s inhabitants heard the commotion. Soon the situation was under control. Caltrow’s wound was seen too and after some explanations the investigators again bedded down to a fretful sleep, fully aware that someone was now trying to murder them.

That morning Dirk Bogard arrived back at the hotel to find none of his compatriots around. After a hearty breakfast he sat down to await their return at the hotel bar.

Somewhat tired by the night’s events the investigators at the camp went for breakfast. On the way Fr. Parks noticed a short frayed piece of cord lying by the entrance to their tent. Breakfast was largely uneventful with not sign of the cultist they noticed previously. Dr. Carver, Fr. Parks and Martin Winfied had an enjoyable conversation on the recent trends in psychology. However the camp is a place of work and Dr. Clive ushered the investigators out of there as soon as he had the opportunity.

Arriving back at the hotel our investigators were re-united with Dirk. After some idle banter the talk gets around to what was to be done with the scrolls containing the black rites of Luveh-Keraph. Dirk offered to make a copy before anything is done with the originals. Carver went to fetch him the scrolls while Edwin and Fr. Parks retired to their rooms.

Once he has the scrolls Dirk began meticulously copying each and every finely detailed character. At that point Carver decided it was a good time to retire to his room. Carver’s room, however, is not unoccupied. Sitting on his bed was a beautiful Egyptian woman. She introduced herself as Neris and asked Carver to return to her what he has stolen. Carver knowing immediately this visit had something to do with the copy of the ‘Black Rites’ they had ‘acquired’ from Janwillhem, decided to play dumb. Neris became more aggressive and Carver eventually agreed to take her to the scrolls in the vault , hoping to think of something along the way. As he passed the rooms of his companions he raised his voice in the hope that one of them would be alerted. Neris made a strange gesture towards each of the doors they passed.

Sensing that his plans had somehow been thwarted Carver ‘remembered’ that Dirk had the scrolls in his room. Neris followed Carver to into Bogard’s room. Seeing the scrolls she immediately strode towards Dirk, demanding he give them to her. While Dirk attempted to delay her Carvers mind raced looking for a solution to their predicament. Then he saw the candlestick.

Even as Neris was struck down by Carver she seemed to land on all fours, then from where she had been rose up a large black panther. It turned its head, snarling, to Carver then leaped over Bogard onto the next balcony and made and incredible leap to the roof across the road. In the next room Fr. Parks awoke from his nap to the sound to a panthers roar. Running to the window he spotted the large black shape on the opposite roof and tried to fire a shot at it, he was woefully out of range however.

In the aftermath, all the investigators gathered together in Fr. Park’s room. The opinions of what had happened were split. Dirk claimed the woman had merely fled when Carver attacked her. Carver himself was visibly shaken and his explanation was the less easily accepted of the two. It seemed the snakebite was having some hallucinatory effects.

Fr. Parks revealed that the books he had in fact managed to keep one of the books from the safe in the Carlyle residence. Tensions within the group flared, August suggesting they leave Egypt and the constant presence of those ‘blasted cats’ which were driving him mad.  After another rest to allow tempers to cool and calm down after the uninvited guest. They decided on a night-time trip to the Bent Pyramid at Dashur. Dirk, in the guise of a tourist out to see Egypt at night, approached the guards posted at the entrance. A few dollars were exchanged and Dirk, Fr. Parks and Edwin had a guided tour of the rather unspectacular central chamber while Caltrow and Ma’muhd investigated the other sides of the pyramid.

Of the two groups investigations Dr. Caltrow’s proved the most interesting. He discovered a side entrance where he bravely entered the darkness (admittedly with loyal Ma’muhd in front carrying a torch) . Inside after a few minutes of fruitless searching Ma’muhd pointed out the outline of an ancient doorway hidden beneath hieroglyphics. Between the two of them they forced the door open. Yet something prevented Caltrow from proceeding any further alone, he felt it was important they all progress together.

Meanwhile at the main entrance Dirk and the others thanked the two guards generously and proceeded back to the jeep where an excited Caltrow awaited them. Shortly afterwards the party stood at the ancient portal. Ma’muhd entered first, then Dirk, Caltrow, August and Parks. The room they entered was incredible a throne fit for a god. As he took some initial photographs Fr. Parks remembered the words of the madman in ‘Life as a god’ and had some inkling as to what the place might be. He attempted to warn the others not to touch anything and to come back out of the room. But it was too late. Dirk Bogard was too busy admiring the fantastic jewel encrusted throne. Ma’muhd and Edwin were staring amazedly at the gigantic gems set on the pedestals lining the room. Caltrow was wandering from one gem to the next trying to gain some clue as to the room’s purpose or origins.

While everyone else was busy being enthralled, Dirk Bogard sat on the throne of a god and ceased to be. The gems burst into brilliant flame, searing Ma’muhd and Caltrow. The entrance sealed over as if it had never been there, trapping Fr. Park’s outside and the others inside.

Nyarlathotep stood up from his throne wearing the flesh of the late Dirk Bogard. Edwin saw the creature on the throne for what it was and opened fire. The bullets had no effect, indeed they seemed to splash over his form as if made of water. Edwin was hurled across the room, landing where the trapdoor had been.

Outside Fr. Parks heard an ominous moan coming from the bottom of the stairs.

Simon Caltrow grabbed another torch and stood in front of Ma’muhd. “ Nephren Ka?”.

Dirk smiled “you know of my name, that is… good.”

Caltrows face drained of its colour.

The god continued to speak.

“Look you, at the fate of those that came before you.” He waved a hand and images of a peaceful Carlyle expedition camp appeared floating beside him. All of the expeditions principals could be seen. Suddenly the camp was attacked by all manner of unspeakable creatures. Every single member of the expedition was murdered before their very eyes.

“Even the brave know their lot. All doors are closed to you; All your dreams are doomed; all your struggles are futile”

Then the god stopped talking and smiled again. The images of the Carlyle camp disappear to be replaced with what appeared to be daytime outside the pyramid. Caltrow seeing a way out, ran for the portal. As soon as he stepped through the portal disappeared and the chamber echoed with Nyarlathoteps laughter.

Back outside Fr. Parks heard the laughter and made a run for it. In the chamber below he encountered what appeared to be half-human half-dog creatures that grabbed at him as he ran out of the pyramid.

He was not a moment outside the chamber when Edwin and Mah’moud came stumbling out after him, both looking more frightened than any person had a right to be. The drive back was in absolute silence.

The next few weeks were spent regrouping. Now too few to continue their investigations having lost both Pepe and Melissa to other commitments only a few days earlier. Fr. Parks goes through the sad business of notifying Simon Caltrows father of his son’s ’Dissapearance’.

In ancient Egypt thousands of years previous a haggard figure scratches the initials S.C into the fresh stone of a pyramid. As Edwin assembled together the last few items on a substantial list of equipment he now believed necessary for this expedition two strangers had arrived in town. These men were the renowned socialite William H. Caltrow and his associate Francis Drake, a well established archaeologist.

The two arrived at the Sheraton hotel and proceeded directly to Fr. Park’s room. He answered the door furtively; however when told their identities he welcomed the two men and told William a version of his son’s fate.

Edwin returned with his supplies and was introduced to the newcomers. It was apparent to the two men that something awful had happened from the demeanour and appearance of the two remaining expedition members. William pressed Edwin and Fr. Parks for the truth, which they were eventually given. After hearing the story William still somewhat unconvinced of its veracity offered his aid in getting to the bottom of what his son had been working on. Mr. Drake unwilling to leave his friend to such a risky task committed to help too.

Boosted by their new found numbers the party decided to get back to their investigations. William Caltrow wanted to see the place where his son had disappeared. Again the group set out for the Bent Pyramid and its secret chamber. They could not find the secret door, where they expected it to be there was just a wall and on it, clearly older than many of the hieroglyphs around it was the inscription “S.C.”

Confused and dismayed the party left Dashur for Meidium to investigate what was to be found at the site of the collapsed pyramid, the first pyramid Sneferu built to contain the body of Nephren-Ka. The same place Warren Besart claimed to witness a Sphinx like creature devouring some of the Carlyle expedition bearers.

The investigators arrived at night and set up a discreet camp where they could see the ruins and its surroundings. There was no sign of activity until the very last hours of Fr. Parks watch. At which point he heard a blood curdling yell and found himself being charged by 5 arabic men wielding savage weapons.


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