Thanks to everyone who entered our holiday giveaway of The Cthulhu Hack rulebook and PDF bundle. I have compiled all of the entries below in hopes that some you will find inspiration for a future investigation or campaign. It should be noted that all rights are retained by the person creating and submitting the entry. The only exception is obviously the poem by William Butler Yates.
The winner is: Reid San Filippo
(Reid please contact me via G+ so that I can get the book and PDFs to you)
It’s Christmas Eve at Mrs. Wilkenson’s Orphanage of forgotten children. While the children lay in their beds, fulsome volunteers busily wrapping presents, assembling bicycles, and connected track for an anomalous electric locomotive and series of Pullman cars, which were silently donated to run under the large lush spruce decorated with chains of paper made by the children that slept. The work went on quietly and soon the task was complete. Each volunteer silently exited the orphanage and took great care as to not allow the closing of the large oak door to disturb the silent night, except for one. The next morning the children awoke before Mrs. Wilkenson to a Christmas miracle. Underneath the giant spruce lay boxes of colorfully wrapped gifts and a train, already in motion for quite some time, speeding around its base. But at some of the homes of the volunteers, their presence could not be found. Though it was quite obvious that these good-doers returned home, no sign could be found of them leaving again. What happened to them? Where did they go?
~ Stephen Pennisi
The black sands ran red with Norseman blood that night. After months of no word or return, a search party was sent out. They eventually found the village on the coast, but with no living trace of their brethren. Only bloody, rusted swords and helmets and damaged shields. Shields that bore deep cuts but not cuts made by any weapon known to any warrior. These were the claw marks of some monstrous demon. The party searched the entire area surrounding the village on the coast but could not find anything. No burrows, no nests, nothing. Even the ship was decimated beyond salvaging. The only indication of anything unnatural being on that beach…were large, webbed footprints all around the huts in the thicker dirt areas and strange, phosphorescent seaweed and slime. The party gathered what they could as a small recompense to the families of their lost warriors. What happened in that village on the coast was unnatural. Unholy. May the gods have mercy on any who set foot on those black sands of death again. ~ Ryan Elliot
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
~ Timothy Burkhardt
It was a rare rainy day in Los Angles, making driving even more dangerous than usual on Christmas Eve, 193x. The police had given up on looking for the missing Mexican girls, but a PI had been employed by a group of concerned citizen pooling their money. All of the trails lead to the docks . . . and vanished. Some suspected white slavery, others that they had just run away, but their families were sure that someone (or, in a few cases, something) had taken them. In any case, time was running out and light needed to be shown into the shadows of the docklands. ~ Seaofstars
Mr. D’s sixth grade class was a buzz with activity. Winter vacation was just two days away and tonight was the class play. All the students had been working hard, some learning their lines, a few working on costumes, and everyone helping to build the scenery. The play was going to be part of the school’s traditional holiday festival, which was celebrating its 108th year. Two students ran their lines while Mr. D, their teacher, coached their acting.
Karen read her lines with flair, “You, sir, should unmask.”
Nick read his lines with an intentional lack of emotion, “Indeed?”
Karen chimed, “Indeed it is time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.”
Nick read, “I wear no mask.”
The play was called The King in Yellow and each student from the actors to the kid who always scored lowest on test knew that tonight’s play was going to “bring down the house, ” as Mr. D was found saying.
As he entered his apartment, Bob thought “I am NEVER going on another Facebook blind date again!”. The girl had seemed nice enough but there was just something odd about the way she moved. Not that she was twitchy or something but that it just did not seem “natural”. That and the Chinese restaurant they met at had an odd feeling about it too. “Oh, well,” Bob murmured. “At least it was a cheap date!” Later that evening Bob woke suddenly from a restless sleep. Foreign food always sat funny in his stomach and made his guts gurgle. He had half expected it to happen tonight as well but his guts had NEVER whispered before…
~ Reid san Filippo
Two ships meet at night off the coast of a small wooded island. The crew of one ship delivers stolen cargo to the other. The captain of the second ship pays well for such exotic merchandise. Players/main characters are new crew on the first ship, the ship delivering the cargo. They begin to suspect that the crew of the second ship is not human. They begin to wonder about the true nature of their cargo. ~ Josh Jordan
It is 1608 and Queen Elizabeth’s favorite alchemist dies. On the very night of his death, his household is thrown into disarray by a violent burglary. But, nothing seems to have been stolen? Unnoticed in the chaos, Doctor Dee’s corpse has been stolen and replaced by a simulacrum.
Meanwhile, Shakespeare is shocked to find a new beverage is for sale in London — coffee. The shop has appeared outside the globe theater but, nobody noticed it being built. Has it always been there? No one can remember. But, it sells a miraculous black beverage that becomes the rage of London. Unfortunately, the coffee is brewed in a barrel containing the pickled remains of Doctor Dee. Soon the coffee obsessed rich and poor alike begin falling ill with numerous sorcerous maladies. The town is in chaos. Shakespeare is desperate to revive attendance at his theater and bring order back to London. He hires a desperate troupe of theater professionals to get to the bottom of things. ~ Brian Renninger
“I do not truly comprehend the events as they have unfolded but I am committing my observations to paper to help fend off the sense of dread these unprecedented circumstances have grown in me over the past two months.
It all began with a young student in my introductory antiquities class. He was from a rural area, in the mountain country. Physically he was a specimen much like those I had seen when traveling through the Appalachians to follow up on a legend or rumor. His accent did not fit his physicality, however, being eloquent and carrying a confidence unusual for his years. The phrasing of his papers seemed to live in an earlier era as well, yet they were some of the best I had seen from any student here at Miskatonic.
His success soon drew the attention of his fellows and someone provided the dean with proof that the young man did not have the qualifications to attend our august facility. He was dismissed after a brief and inconclusive investigation of how he gained entry to the university.
After that, I began to see the same fierce intelligence that I had marked in his eyes staring out of the faces of others at random moments. These interactions followed a pattern. I would feel eyes upon me, not know how long they had watched me I would raise my own to see this intelligence staring at me from the eyes of a stranger or even someone more familiar. They would meet my gaze only for a moment, then blink in confusion and move on with their day as though the last exchange had not happened. At first, I was certain that I had imagined it, but it continued and became more frequent, always when I was at my work. I would catch staff in the library, students following me in the halls, even the cleaning staff here in my office.
I have noticed papers missing as well. Specifically my research into the rites of resurrection of the ancient Empire of Mjid. I warn you, these Mjidian rites are perverse in the extreme.
One day I managed to catch one of them watching as I left. A student from another department was in the hall outside my office, watching me leave. I waited at a distance and observed the student gain entry to my office through the locked door. How he came to have a key is beyond my reasoning. After a time of not more than ten minutes he left the office and proceeded to the little-used recesses of the old building, climbing up an access ladder to the crawl space in part of the ceiling. I waited a full hour for him to return and then ascended the ladder myself once he had retreated from sight. In the crawlway I found a strange nest of papers mixed with pastry wrappers. Much of my research had been laid out on the walls with that of my colleagues in universities on the west coast and in Europe. He had almost completely reconstructed the ritual of Resurrection! I made notes in a pad I habitually carry and left all as I had found it. I fear to let it know I have found its secret, even if I do not understand its goals.
I shudder to think what these events mean. The blood sacrifice required by the ritual will result in a terrible loss of life if any of the people controlled by this intelligence attempts it! Who would gain from it? Is this some poltergeist possessing the innocent in the hopes of reviving himself? How can I stop such a creature? Who can I turn to for help? Who would not think me mad? Will the use of my research implicate me in the wrongdoing? Even if it doesn’t, can I stand by and do nothing and still regard myself as moral?
We shall see.” ~ David Rollins
I would like to thank Paul Baldowski of Just Crunch Games and designer of The Cthulhu Hack for generously donating a complete set of The Cthulhu Hack PDFs! Absolutely a gentleman and a scholar. If you’re looking to grab a PDF copy of the rules or any of the supplements, head on over to DriveThruRPG. Better yet, go to DriveThruRPG and grab the Festivus Bundle for only $ll.89 and get everything in PDF. I’m not sure how much longer it will be available at this price, but here’s a chance to save a few bucks.
We hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah. Please stay safe and love one another!