Posted on April 12, 2011 by Flames
The first part of the highly anticipated Cthulhu Apocalypse series.
The Investigators are rendered unconscious by a train crash. When they wake they discover the world has died. White flowers cover the ground and they see, beneath the delicate petals, the faces of the dead. No other human is in sight, everyone is gone.
The struggle to survive the apocalypse takes the Investigators through Britain, across the sea to America and beyond the veils of reality.
Flames Rising is pleased to present an exclusive preview of this new Trail of Cthulhu product from Pelgrane Press.
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Dead White World
Exploring further, they find a Russian tanker, which has leaked its cargo of seeds. These seeds are a biological weapon. When the Investigators find the tanker, creatures arise from the sea, and the Investigators must flee.
This scenario is constructed around two big events:
• Waking up to find everyone is dead.
• Creatures rising from the sea and destroying Dover.
Compared to other scenarios, there is little investigation. The scenario is about witnessing the apocalypse, rather than investigating it. So encourage the players to linger, particularly during the initial scenes.
Everyone is dead.
What caused the apocalypse?
The Horrible Truth
In Dover Harbour, a Russian tanker contains seeds for the British government. These seeds are weapons, created by a Russian agronomist. Once released, they infect water supplies and breed with astonishing rapidity.
This morning, an undersea earthquake produced a great wave, which dashed the trailer against the harbour wall. The seeds leaked out and began to multiply.
At first, the seeds were invisible in the water. People who drank it later died, as the seeds grew inside them. The only survivors are those who have not touched the polluted water.
The earthquake also caused a train to derail. It crashed, killing almost all the passengers. Hours later, a few survivors wake, to see how the world has ended. These are the Investigators.
The Investigators have not been infected with the seeds. Having been unconscious for hours, they have not drunk the infected water. If they drank anything before that, it was tea on the train, and fortunately the tea urns were sealed.
Hours later, the water is white, packed with the seeds. Meanwhile, the earthquakes continue and the sea-creatures prepare to emerge.
When the Investigators wake after a train crash, they find everyone dead and everything covered with white flowers.
They reach the Crown Hotel, where they find their Sources of Stability dead. There, a Russian sailor attempts to kill the Investigators. From the sailor, they find that the flowers came from a ship in Dover Harbour.
As they approach the ship, there are earthquakes. Inside, the Investigators find the flowers were ordered, as a weapon, by the British government. Finally, great creatures emerge from the sea, and the Investigators flee.
Prologue: The Plant
To begin the scenario, choose one Investigator: a botanist or biologist is ideal, but any Investigator will do. Reveal the following information slowly, step-by-step, as they wake and look around.
When that Investigator wakes, they see a plant growing before their eyes. It is delicate, like a snowdrop. Yet, since it is early winter, it cannot be a snowdrop. Certainly, it is not a common plant.
If the Investigator touches the plant, it scatters white seeds. The wind catches the seeds, blowing them far away.
Now, the Investigator feels grass pressing against their face. They are, they realise, lying in a field. Looking around, they see similar plants scattered everywhere.
Next, as their eyes focus, they see a wrecked train. Slowly, they remember. They were on a train to Dover to attend a wedding. It must have crashed.
The Crashed Train
The train lies on its side. As the other Investigators wake, the first thing they notice is the cold: they have lain motionless for hours in the wintry air. The shadows are lengthening, the sky is cloudy. Within an hour, the sun will fall below the horizon.
Ask the Investigators where they wake up at the crash site. Some have been thrown clear of the wreck; some are wedged between corpses. If the Investigators are strangers to each other, let them meet now, as they rescue each other, attend to wounds and search for survivors.
But there are no survivors. Bar the Investigators, everyone is dead. Indeed, everything is eerily still: there is no noise, save for the piercing cry of an occasional seagull.
At the top of an embankment is the railway. The tracks curve, here, and it appears the train shot straight off the tracks. The road to Dover runs alongside the railway. Indeed, the town is distantly visible, about three miles away.
There is a signal box, a short walk down the tracks. Inside, the Investigators find the signalman’s corpse. It is curled in a corner, with agony on the face and a white froth around the lips. If the Investigators try the telephone, there is no reply. Indeed, on closer examination, there is no electric power.
The road, also, is strangely still. About half a mile towards Dover is a car, parked at the side of the road. As the Investigators approach, they notice a man and a woman inside. Both are dead. The man has shot the woman, then himself, with a revolver clutched in his hand. They are holding hands and, judging from the rings, are a married couple. Around their lips, again, is the white froth.
As the Investigators head further towards Dover, they find more cars, similarly parked. It seems that people tried to flee Dover, then realised they were dying. One family sits on the grass verge, huddled together. Two young women, together in a car, killed themselves by drinking bleach from a tea flask. All have the white froth around their lips.
If the Investigators prefer to drive to Dover, they can take any of these cars. They will need to move the bodies first.
As they travel, the Investigators realise the plants are everywhere. Clumps are scattered along the grassy banks at the side of the road. When the wind gusts, or the Investigators pass in a car, the seeds float gently away, like a wisp of smoke. The surrounding fields, too, are sprinkled with patches of white. It is eerily beautiful.
Equally disturbing is the stillness. There is no sound of engines. There are no lights in Dover. Nothing moves, apart from the clouds overhead, as the Investigators cross a bridge and head down the road.
Give the Investigators two Sense Trouble rolls, difficulty 5 (but see the sidebar, Sensing Trouble). The first roll is for the clouds. They’re not really clouds. Instead, to anyone who makes the roll, they resemble a curious white smoke. They are, the Investigators realise, clouds of seeds.
The second roll is for the bridge, which crosses a stream. Anyone who makes the roll notices a flash of white in the corner of their eye. When they look down, the river is white, like milk. Looking closer, it is filled with seeds. The river banks bloom thickly and beautifully with the white plants.
As the Investigators approach Dover, they see many, many corpses. Most are sitting by the side of the road. Some have committed suicide, some have died in agony. The Investigators see dozens of corpses, but thousands, even millions, must be dead.
* * * * *
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Dead White World is available now at RPGNow.com.
This preview for was provided and published with express permission from Pelgrane Press.