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Let's Play: Lovecraft - 'The Terror in the Crags' (Complete)

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by grotsnik, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Chef_Hathaway King of the Juice Patron White Knight

    Chef_Hathaway
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    C
     
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  2. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    B: Back to the steps. Back to the steps, and then run. Run for my life towards the light.
     
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  3. PandaBreeder Educated

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    C: Tentacle rape incoming :smug:
     
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  4. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    :smug:
     
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  5. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    ;) Obviously, nothing would excite me more than to consider in detail the sensations one would experience as one was ravaged by an alien Elder Thing tentacle, then write it down in the second-person, save it on my hard-drive and publish it online.

    ...but on the other hand, I don't know how well our protagonist would survive such an event, and now we've got this far I'd at least like to *try* and get some of the plot revealed. You know, the ingenious, intricately-detailed plot, which I'm totally not making up as I go along.

    Maybe I'll include a tentacle scene as an alternate-ending holiday present. Fappy Christmas, everyone!
     
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  6. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    B please!


    And for those choosing C. Really guys? This LP is awesome, can we not try to get our protag killed as expediently as possible? It's going to happen, but lets not be idiots about it.
     
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  7. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Okay, I officially change my vote to

    B

    TheLostOne has convinced me.
    Also, yes, this is an awesome LP. Keep it up! :salute:
     
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  8. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    :love: Ah, even if C wins I'm sure I can find some way to weasel our hero out of it at least enough to continue the LP. It's just that if you specifically want him to be raped by a tentacle right this second, I'm not sure how well he'll be able to function afterwards. And I mean, I have to listen to my readers, but...
     
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  9. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    You step backwards. Very slowly, trying to remain quiet. The noise is louder now. A hollow, rattling gurgle. The thing is near you. Its fearful stench is in your very lungs. You mustn’t cough. You mustn’t cough.

    Another step back. The torch illuminates the darkness.

    Oh, Christ - what if I see it? What if I can’t help but see it? What if I’m not heading towards the stairs at all? What’s out there? What strange creature was etched onto the frescos of Yog-Shoggoth? What fiends were those in the eyes of the dying Malay?

    And you begin to hear it, sing-song, in the pit of your mind.

    The good host knows when his guests come to dine.
    He will come out in his carriage to meet them.
    Most marvellous halls! O, sweetest of wine!
    But his golden house is dark, and poisons are sweet.


    Your heel touches the lowest step. You stumble. And the candle slips from your sweaty grasp and clatters down against the stone.

    A scream, higher-pitched than human sound. A howl of emptiness. And, much later, as you relive this horrid moment in your dreams, turning it over, trying to find some explanation, you will swear that as you turn and run, driven by pure terror, back up the steps, something soft and dreadful brushes against the back of your leg.

    On. On, up the sightless staircase, watching the window of faint yellow light grow larger, the shrieks or an echo of the shrieks repeating itself, over and over, in your feverish consciousness-

    The good host knows when his guests come to dine.
    He will come out in his carriage to meet them.
    Most marvellous halls! O, sweetest of wine!
    But his golden house is dark, and poisons are sweet.


    *

    You stumble out, into the cruciform study, and with all your strength you heave the wooden panelling back across and lean against it just as the other door smacks back into the wall.

    James, clad in his dressing-gown, with a candlestick clasped in front of him, steps forward into the room. He looks almost dazed, his eyes staring down at you, unseeing.

    “James…” you manage to whisper, “James, my God…something down there...the crawling chaos…”

    And immediately your friend’s features contort into fury. He raises the candlestick, and for a moment it seems as if he intends to strike down at you with it.

    Then he seems to regain control. Crouching at your side, he cries,

    “Stephen…Stephen, my poor fellow, why did you leave your room? You’re feverish; you need to be in bed, you need to go back to bed.”

    “James…” you croak, “…it was screaming…under the house…it heard me…”

    He shakes his head.

    “That was you screaming,” he says, with intense sympathy. “We all heard it from downstairs…poor man, you’re delirious, you’re hallucinating. Salman, give me a hand, we’ll put him back to bed. I think Miss Kline has some sleeping pills…”

    Salman, grinning, steps out of the darkness of the study threshold. His firm hand grasps at your shoulder, and lifts you up.

    *

    You’re put back to bed. A hand presses a small white tablet to your lips. You take it into your mouth. The same hand forces you to drink a little water.

    You close your eyes, and hear them locking the door from the outside. You count to ten, and then spit the pill out.

    You whisper to yourself, over and over,

    The good host knows when his guests come to dine.
    He will come out in his carriage to meet them.
    Most marvellous halls! O, sweetest of wine!
    But his golden house is dark, and poisons are sweet.


    *

    It must be the afternoon by the time you wake. Wrapping yourself in your dressing-gown, you try the door handle. It’s unlocked.

    You step out, deliberately turning away from the darkness of the corridor that leads to the study that leads to – no, you must not think about that. A shiver passes through your body. Your dreams, you seem to remember, were dark.

    “Was it only a dream?” you ask yourself, aloud. “Did I imagine it? Dammit, am I going insane?”

    *

    As you step down the spiral staircase, Jezebel runs to you, taking your arm and leading you the rest of the way.

    “Professor Buch,” she says, beseechingly, “you’re meant to be resting, sir. You’re not well.”

    You croak,

    “No…you’re very kind, Miss Kline, but…I really am feeling much better. I’m quite all right now, I think.”

    The entire company gathered at the drawing room table stares at you. Between Whipple and James stands a rather desiccated-looking old fellow, stooped and with a few remaining curly white hairs, in a black suit.

    “I’m quite all right,” you repeat. “I…my God, James, I must have been delirious last night. I was a fool to get out of bed like that. It’s…it’s all been very hard on me. But the rest's done me some good.”

    James smiles at you.

    “That’s quite all right,” he says. “You should have stayed in Arkham, Stephen. Perhaps…well, perhaps we’ll see about buying a couple of guides and a carriage to take you back there.”

    Whipple gives you a curious look.

    “Right,” James continues, clapping his hands. “Miss Kline, why don’t you help Stephen down onto the chaise-longue – and then, my dear, would you mind going into the kitchens and asking them to bring him up a late breakfast? He needs to get some food in him…maybe we’ll even see about getting that local doctor up here. Sorry, Mr. Armstrong…let’s finish signing, shall we?”

    The old man gives you a wary smile, and then nods.

    “Yes,” he says, turning back towards the table. “Now…this is…er, no, apologies, that’s Mr Jermyn’s old will…ah! This is the deed signed by the mayor. And may I say, Professor Hurley,” he adds, “that I am personally, er, delighted that Jermyn House and its manor lands have passed to such an, um, esteemed gentleman.”

    “Thank you, sir,” James tells him, shortly. “Whipple, would you mind being my witness?”

    You slip up off the chaise-longue, as quietly as you can, and approach. Arthur Jermyn’s old will is lying on the surface of the table, a little apart from the three men.

    You reach it, and have time to read,

    I, Arthur Jermyn, being of sound mind and body, do declare-

    before James cries,

    “Dammit, Stephen, will you lie down?”

    and Whipple, catching gently hold of you, leads you back to the chaise-longue. But you’ve seen all you needed to see.

    Arthur Jermyn’s will was written in a different hand to the scrap of his diary you found in the study. A similar hand, of course, but a forgery – you’ve seen and discredited enough falsified ‘historical documents’ in your time. The slope of the letters is all wrong. ‘Arthur Jermyn’ is written too carefully, the pen halting and then taking up the task again, as if the man paused to take note of the style he was supposed to be imitating.

    So perhaps the landowner never left this house to the town of Dynhill after all...


    Some quite complicated choices here. First of all…do you want to confide in someone? And how much do you want to tell them? Just about the will, or about what lurks beneath the study, or even about James’ behaviour? (Remember, they may already believe you’re delirious, even insane - and babbling about monsters might alienate them for good. On the other hand, they may suspect something is wrong themselves).


    A: Whipple.

    B: Jezebel.

    C: Father Harry.

    D: Doctor Smith.

    And secondly…where do you go from here? It’s pretty open. Today the rest of your companions will be setting out to begin excavating in the ruins. You could insist upon accompanying them, or you could follow them in secret. You could visit the town’s post office and try to get a telegram out to the outside world, maybe an authority back in Arkham. You could (though it might drive your sanity away for good) try to return to the study and the horror within. Where to, Codex?
     
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  10. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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  11. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    C

    I think we should tell Father Harry that something fishy's going on. Not sure if we should inform him of the monster, though -- maybe some cautious hints, but no more.

    As to what we should do next -- perhaps join the expedition, and openly? Too much secrecy may be harmful for our frail sanity.
     
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  12. PandaBreeder Educated

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    C: Father Harry seems to be a trustworthy guy. I support going one the expedition openly. Failing that, we should sneak out.
     
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  13. Chef_Hathaway King of the Juice Patron White Knight

    Chef_Hathaway
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    And discuss everything.
     
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  14. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    B: Jezebel.

    Broach the topics carefully. Try to feel her out and see what she knows. Sense Motive check essentially. :P Open up if she seems on the level.

    Edit: She still might be innocent of the darker ongoings here, and what kind of gentlemen would we be to abandon her to James' machinations without at least trying to warn her.

    Then follow them in secret to the ruins.
     
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  15. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Happy Boxing Day! Hungover and over-fed, my laptop rocking up and down on my bloated stomach, I decided to write an update. And here it is.

    *

    You hear Jezebel calling, through the door,
    “Come in!”
    You enter.

    A light, airy room, filled with the scent of her perfume. A black silken dress has been draped over the bed as if for a ball. And, from behind the dressing partition, Jezebel Kline steps out Her dark hair has been bound up into a bun; she’s wearing the khaki waistcoat and trousers of an explorer. None of the drab clothing manages to make her look any less beautiful. And, you notice, when she sees you, her face brightens perceptibly.
    “Professor Buch,” she says.
    “Miss Kline,” you reply, shortly. “Do you have a minute, ma’am? I’d like to…sound you out on something.”

    The two of you sit at her window, gazing out over the dim lights of Dynhill, and beyond, the darkness of the sea. She lights up a cigarette in an elegant silver holder. You refuse.
    You ask her,
    “Miss Kline…Jezebel…have you noticed anything strange since we arrived?”
    She breathes out smoke, turns her eyes away from you, and murmurs,
    “Strange, Professor?”
    “Strange like the fact that Arthur Jermyn’s will is a forgery,” you tell her. That gets her attention, and you continue, more calmly, gazing into her eyes,
    “I got a good look at it yesterday. It’s not the same man’s writing. An expert would’ve spotted it immediately. The solicitor would’ve spotted it immediately, if he wasn’t in on it. There’s embezzlement at work here…if not something worse. If we can get our hands on the will again, and another copy of Jermyn’s handwriting, I think I can prove it to you.”
    Jezebel takes a long, slow drag.
    “Embezzlement?” she says, eventually. “Arthur Jermyn left his estate to the town, Professor. An old house and an abandoned fort on the cliffs. Only money they made from it was when they sold it on to us. You think the mayor’s got mixed up in all of this? The sheriff?”
    “Yes,” you begin, “but listen…”

    Jezebel taps the ash casually out of the open window and says,
    “You know what Professor Hurley was telling us about you, Stephen? When you’d been delivered back to us, and you were talking about how those blacks had tried to kill you? He said, ‘Paranoia is the first sign of psychosis; I should have seen this coming a long time ago.’ He said he’d noticed the signs in you before, back in Arkham. How you kept lying...making up the most fantastic stories. He said he wanted to believe you, but perhaps what had really happened was that you’d run away and the workers had tried to go after you, or you’d scared them, or…well…he didn’t finish that sentence.”
    You watch her for a second before asking,
    “And what do you think?”
    A tight, twisted little smile.
    “I don’t rightly know,” she says. “But you’re right about something, Professor…it is strange here. No children playing on the street. Not a smile on a face anywhere you go in this town. And…” She hesitates.

    “...and last night,” she tells you, hovering over each word as if she's afraid to say it out loud, and she looks less composed now, almost agitated, “...well, it was so odd. I’d gone to bed, I’d locked myself in…and I could’ve sworn somebody started trying to turn the handle on my door. A dream, you’ll say, it was only a dream…but it sent chills down me, Professor. And I cried out, ‘Who’s there?’ And there wasn’t any reply, and the handle started rattling, faster and faster…”

    She cuts off. She’s pale. The cigarette, clasped between her fingers, is shivering very slightly.

    “What happened then?” you ask her. She shrugs, and tries to smile again.
    “You started screaming,” she says. “And the handle stopped rattling, and I heard footsteps running away down the corridor.”
    Slowly, you get to your feet.
    Jezebel rises too.
    “Oh, I’ve agitated you,” she cries. “I shouldn’t have, Professor, really – it was only a dream, it wasn’t anything at all.”
    You take her hand, slowly, in yours.
    “Jezebel,” you tell her. “I don’t know how to explain half of what I’ve seen these past few days. You probably think I’m insane…and dammit, maybe I am. But if something happens to me…if there should be an accident, or…it’s important you know. Don’t trust James. Whatever he does…whatever he says about me, you mustn't trust him."

    She hesitates, then nods at you, as if she understands just what the hell you’re talking about.

    *

    At around midday, you begin the long, dull trudge up through the cobbled streets of Dynhill to the cliff-path and the old ruins of the fort. James has apparently acquired more labour from the townsfolk, because when all of you step out of the doors of Jermyn House, there are seven heavily-set men waiting for you there with shovels. You note, with some concern, the uniform gaze of animal stupidity on the faces of each of the men.

    *

    The climb is steep; the path little more than planks set into the rocky soil surrounding the eerie grey crags, and the little horse dragging the cart upwards moves at an incredibly slow pace. Occasionally your party disturbs a gull, nestling amongst the stones, and a harsh shriek of outrage fills the air, until it is taken up by the other birds, and the collective wail echoes all around you.

    Jezebel walks close to you, chatting idly about nothing. When her eyes meet yours, you catch a glimpse of warmth there – of mutual conspiracy. James marches ahead, alone, and you can feel Whipple’s wary gaze on the back of your neck.

    Soon you will be at the fort and descending into the depths of the ancient ruins in the crags. God knows what’ll happen down there. What might seem like a shitty flavour dialogue choice…err, I mean, a casual few words spoken in conversation, could affect who you can rely upon. Alternatively, you could try to push James into showing his hand by doing something EXTREME, or you could do something else entirely…

    A) Consolidate your bond with Jezebel.
    B) Try to win over Whipple.
    C) Speak to James. Tell him, quietly, that you know he’s up to something, and that you’re going to try and stop him.
    D) Speak to James. Try and provoke him into hitting you. Perhaps this will make him appear unstable in the eyes of the others.
    E) Speak to James. Lie to him; try to convince him that you didn’t see anything of importance in Jermyn’s study.
    F) Steal a blade of some sort from the cart, and conceal it in your sling. The most useful weapon is the weapon nobody knows about.
    G) Attempt to communicate with some of the local workers.
    H) Fuck you, Grotsnik, you handsome prick, I have a better idea! (Please specify)
     
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  16. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Awesome.

    What about doing both A and F? If not, then I choose A. "Consolidate" the bond. :smug:
     
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  17. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    A) Consolidate your bond with Jezebel.

    And never lose sight of Whipple.
     
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  18. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Er, I'm not saying you're wrong...but what do you think Whipple's up to, exactly? Didn't think I'd signposted that.
     
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  19. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    I am paranoid about people staring at me, my instinct is warning me.
     
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  20. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    I think Kz3r0 is onto something and has a very fine eye for detail. So I support being wary of Whipple.
     
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  21. PandaBreeder Educated

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  22. praetor Arcane

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  23. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    :thumbsup:
     
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  24. Yeesh Magister

    Yeesh
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    your future if you're not careful...
    Consolidate, Consummate, all the same.
     
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