Masks Of Nyarlathotep (part 4)

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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