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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. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    Damn, how did I miss this update?! I was watching for it too.

    C

    We'll be the bait. It's not like we can shoot worth a damn anyway. Give Whipple a clean shot.
     
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  2. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    “We can’t trust it,” you whisper. Carefully, making sure the bulk of the revolver is concealed inside your jacket pocket, you glance at Whipple. He nods and does the same.

    Then you keep walking, beneath the low underground arch – the temple-threshold of Nyarlarthotep, as you’ve seen a dozen times in the East, marked with the witch-symbols, the ancient greeting-

    Welcome, traveller, to my golden halls.

    And, as you step down into the great spherical cavern of polished rock, and see the lanterns burning in each of the five workers’ hands, formed into the classical prayer-star, you know you’ve arrived at your journey’s destination at last. The Meeting-Place.

    Jezebel is lying in the central stone circle. Her pale, beautiful throat has been slit, and the blood left to drain into the hieroglyphs etched into the stone. Beautiful red.

    She’s been dead for at least an hour.

    James stands, in the very centre of the workers, his hands clasped together, a very quiet smile on his face. He’s waiting for you to speak.

    You step over Jezebel’s corpse.

    “Why did she have to die?” you ask.

    James’ smile does not flicker.

    “She screamed,” he says. “She spoke blasphemy against the master of the house.”

    A low, cold dread begins to shiver up your spine.

    At the very far end of the cavern, over James’ shoulder, the man you once knew as Salman is standing, his arms at his sides, and a grey silver mask concealing his face.

    “The Stone Man,” you whisper. With difficulty, you shift your eyes back to James’. “And you,” you tell him. “You’re Arthur Jermyn.”

    He shakes his head.

    “Possession is a lie,” he says. “I share his every thought, as he shares mine.” And his fingers twitch, as if he’s delighted at the thought of that.

    “And what’s the creature,” you ask, “sir, if you are Arthur Jermyn, if you are him...then what is that hellish thing lurking below the Jermyn House?”

    He shrugs.

    “When one abandons a vessel,” he says, “it is a danger of our craft that something else will step in through the gap to fill the space you left.”

    You gaze at one another. Beside you, Whipple shifts nervously.

    “And if you were to abandon James’ body,” you say, “would he be left behind…or would he be taken with you?”

    He shrugs, again, in exactly the same manner, as if he likes the movement of it.

    “Nothing is certain,” he says. “We would experiment, first of all, of course. I’m sure one of these would consent to try out it out.”

    He waves a hand towards the five workers. All of them are quite still.

    “You’ll forgive them,” he says. “They do not speak our language. Their vessels attempted to kill me…so the master of the house set his dogs on them. The Old Lady has no power here, and the master’s hounds are many.”

    You think of the torches, heading up the path towards the fort. Enough. Maybe just enough to block off the cave entrance.

    “The villagers aren’t of your party, then,” you murmur. "They kept your master imprisoned within. Until James came here."

    “They belong to the Old Lady,” James snaps, and for the first time irritation crosses his face. He twitches back, towards Salman. The silver mask is quite still. “The master is impatient,” he continues. “We must make haste. This game has gone on for too long now.”

    “Make haste?” Whipple asks. He glances at you. “Make haste to…do what?”

    You gaze into the blackness of the eye-holes of the man who had once been Salman. And you understand.

    “The Stone Man wishes to…join with me,” you say, slowly. “I have knowledge that will be useful to him. He’s learnt much from James, but…he wants to learn more. ”

    The silver mask turns. Its sight falls upon you.

    James smiles.

    “So many years,” he says. “So many years we spent together, scouring the old books, gathering knowledge of the Old Gods, the old ways…and now we’re going to pass that knowledge on. It’s very scientific, Stephen…very exact. Simply a case of the right chemicals, the right combination…the right words…and you’ll be one with…yes, ‘The Stone Man’, as you call him. We must make haste, my friend. We must make haste."

    He waves a hand. The five workers take a step forward towards you. Their lanterns are held high. Swinging, like weapons.

    You step back. And from his position, the Stone Man watches. You could swear his silver mask is shifting into a smile.

    “It is best,” James says, “if you do not resist, Stephen.”

    A) “Go to hell.” Open fire.
    B) Charge directly at the Stone Man; try to tear the mask off his face.
    C) Go along with it (optional; insist that Whipple be allowed to leave safely) in the hope that you can buy the villagers enough time to descend into the cave.
    D) Go along with it. Because who doesn’t want to be assimilated into an alien consciousness?
    E) Fire a shot towards the Stone Man, and run.
    F) Other.
     
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  3. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    F, what root says.
     
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  4. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    Firmly grasp the amulet and ask the Old Gods to send them straight to hell.
     
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  5. Chef_Hathaway King of the Juice Patron White Knight

    Chef_Hathaway
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    Divinity: Original Sin BattleTech
     
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  6. 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
    It looks like any option = rape. :/ I'd say

    And then, in case that doesn't work, open fire!

    :yeah:

    EDIT. If that's possible, I'd like to flip-flop to root's option below!
    :yeah:
     
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  7. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    F: Pretend to go along with it. Wait for the right moment. When they least expect it. When we cannot miss. We only get one shot at this.
     
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  8. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    This, I'll change my vote to something like that if that's possible, I would like to see our scholar to cast Magic Missile of Mindfuckery +5 before he bites the dust/is tentacle-raped to death.
     
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  9. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Yeah, I think I'm actually going to interpret that vote and 'Grasp the amulet' as being basically the same concept and go from there. Stay tuned for the grand finale...
     
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  10. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    With your one free hand, you slip the amulet out into the open air and hold it aloft.

    The workers' dull gazes seem to settle on it. They hesitate.
    You gaze into the darkness behind the Stone Man's eyes.

    "I know what you are, Stone Man!" you shout. "A star-boil, a beggar, and a wretch! Abdul Al-hazred wrote of you when he spoke of 'them who trail behind in the slime of the crawling chaos'! You are the thing Father Harry's people bound to a cross! You did not see your enemy's greatest weapon, even as it entered your chambers! You are not Nyarlathotep but his shadow!"

    James is staring at you. His face contorts.
    One of the workers takes a step forward.

    Whipple's hand moves in a blur. A crack of smoke, and the man's head bursts. He topples. The torch tumbles down by the corpse's feet.

    You raise the amulet up, towards the unseen sky above the encompassing stone.
    "Old Hag!" you yell. "I know what you are, and I know whom you serve! The host has invited you in, and you must come! Now is the dusk of the shooting star and the dawn of the rising sea! Bring the shapeless mass! Bring Him in His terror and His infinite fury! Bring the tide to wash away the stone! Bring the gibbering fiend to tear back the silver mask! This is the meeting-place, and the time is now! Yi-nash-Yog-Sothoth-he-lglb-fi-throdag-Yah!"

    James is screeching,
    "Stop him! End this blasphemy!"
    and as the workers stretch their hands out towards you, Whipple firing his last two shots into their number, bringing down another in an explosion of blood, you feel something in the texture of the cavern shift. A weird, uncanny distortion in the air.

    All at once, the torches extinguish, as if snuffed out by an unseen hand. But there's still light. Too much light; a pale, eerie green that does not seem to come from anywhere in the cave.
    The Stone Man takes a step forward.
    And another.
    And the mask slips from his face. You stare, just for a second, at what's beneath. Nothingness. A void that presses back, into the very nature of the air around you, pushing reality back, to the things that lie beyond-
    You rip your gaze away.
    Meg Polack is standing over his shoulder.
    She makes a cursory gesture to you, as if to say, without a great deal of concern for what happens to you,
    'Run'.

    Tendrils of smoke, of something more solid, more physical than smoke, are coiling about the Stone Man's face. The stone itself begins to tremble.
    You turn, and run. A worker's hands catch out at the back of your jacket for a moment, and then are dragged back. Inhuman, high-pitched shrieks fill the air. The acrid stench of Nyarlathotep's creatures fumes outwards.

    A single, frenzied cry - YOG-SOTHOTH! YOG-SHOTHOTH!

    Ahead of you, Whipple stumbles up the steps; you do the same, tripping and falling for a moment against the stone. The amulet slips out of your grasp.
    James vaults over you.
    You snatch out, grabbing his leg with your one free hand, and pull him down. He topples, cracking his head.
    "Priest," you shout, "your god is no god at all! The Old Hag was right to deny him!"

    He turns. His forehead is bloodied. One eye is closed. And it's James Hurley, your old friend, the man with whom you played chess on the grassy quadrangles of Miskatonic on sunny days - the man who comforted you when your engagement was cut off.
    "Stephen," he whimpers, "Stephen, it's gone. The fiend has left me. The things...the things it made me do..."
    Slowly, painfully, your broken hand snakes across through the material of the sling, and catches hold of the butt of your revolver.

    You say, through gritted teeth,
    "James is gone. He's dead. You took my friend, you bastard-"
    His face alters; turns murderous. With a mad, desperate laugh, he raises his foot to kick out at you.
    You lift the revolver out of your jacket, your twisted arm trembling and screaming. Your finger squeezes at the trigger.

    From this distance, even you can't miss.

    *

    As dawn rises, a man clutching a broken arm is helped up from the rope ladder onto the battlements of the old fort. The assembled villagers gaze at him, dully.

    Shortly afterwards, another man, middle-aged, with the beard of an industrialist, clambers up. With some difficulty, he and the man with the broken arm haul the ladder up. Very slowly, with the greatest of care. The villagers do not help them.
    On the end, carried in a crude cloth hammock, is the body of a beautiful black-haired woman. The two men lay her out, on the ground.

    Father Harry steps forward from out of the crowd.
    "The goddess blessed you," he says. "The Stone Man is taken. The war between the sea and the land is over. We led you well."
    Stephen Buch ignores him.
    "Hurley," Father Harry insists, "would have used your knowledge of the Old ways. He and his Stone Man would have raised the crawling chaos - the true Nyarlathotep. You have won a great victory for your race."

    Stephen gazes into the man's sunken eyes.
    "Where will you go?" he asks.
    Harry shrugs.

    "Back into the sea," he says. "Until it's time for us to rise again."

    *

    Twelve years later.

    Two old men and a young boy walk out across the sunny Arkham grass. The boy skips and dances with the unreasoning delight of the young; the two old men take their time, carefully skirting the moss-covered graves. They have become accustomed, each in their own way, to a life of neglect - days of quiet mockery, concern, and accusations of lunacy or conmanship, and nights lit up by fits of trembling madness. When they close their eyes, they see the twisted symbols of the Dunhill temple. Once or twice, in the worst of their fevers, their imaginations have even led them to picture the shapeless form that rose up behind the Stone Man - the dread visage of Yog-Shoggoth.

    The boy, whose name is Howard Lovecraft, plucks out a daisy from the grass and hands it to his grandfather. He's never truly understood the bogey tales the old man tells him - but even while the details seem strange, even horrifying, the outlandishness of it all excites him rather than makes him afraid. When he dreams, he dreams of these fantastic creatures, these old gods and terrible things that fall to earth on the backs of shooting stars, these ancient texts and forbidden spells...and he delights in all of it, to the extent that his interest worries his dutiful parents.

    Whipple leads him gently to the old meeting-place in the graveyard. Scarlet roses grow and flourish up out of the single gravestone, with its single occupant, that marks out the lives of two very different people.

    Stephen stops, and gazes down at the inscription.

    JEZEBEL MARY KLINE AND JAMES EDWARD HURLEY

    MAY THEY WHO GAZED TOO LONG INTO DARKNESS DISCOVER LIGHT.


    THE END.
     
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  11. TheLostOne Savant

    TheLostOne
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    :love:

    :thumbsup:

    :salute:

    Wasn't expecting a "happy" ending. Still, inspiration for young Lovecraft was a neat idea.

    Well done, sir.
     
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  12. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Excellent LP.
     
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  13. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Incredible, the protagonist survived and even had a happy life!! :thumbsup: :love:

    I expected that we would fuck up at the last second (as it tends to happen with the wh40k lp). What about explaining what would the result be with the other choices?
     
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  14. 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
    Holy shit, we've survived!!! :salute:

    Wonderful LP. Thanks, grotsnik!

    :love: :love:
     
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  15. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Er...because I'm an idiot who's been playing too much Vampire: Bloodlines recently. I'll change it now. Good catch.

    Cheers, everyone! I thought some of it turned out okay, though it was a bit disjointed and unclear in parts. You've been awesome readers - and some time in the distant future when I try doing something like this again, I'd be honoured to have you along. :love:

    As to the other endings...well, if you'd started a firefight, you'd have been found unworthy and torn to pieces, Whipple shooting you in the head just before your suffering became unbearable. If you'd fired and run, you'd have reached the entrance just as the villagers set off an explosion that buried you inside, and if you'd let the Stone Man join with you, his forces would have attacked the villagers inside the fort, causing heavy casualties, but eventually being defeated...and, still semi-conscious in spite of your mindrape, you're crucified, still wearing the silver mask, and left to starve, gazing out to sea.

    So...yeah. I think you made the right choice.
     
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  16. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Similar (read: ripped-off) concept, but not actually deep ones, nope.
     
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  17. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Just stumbled on this LP, it was an excellent read. Wish I'd been able to participate.

    More of this sort of thing!
     
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  18. Excidium P. banal

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    Only after we're done with Anthony Sommers' saga. :rpgcodex:
     
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  19. 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
    Ah yes, this was a glorious LP. Much more chamber than grotsnik's current one, and my personal favourite.
     
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  20. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Thanks! Yeah, I'd really like to do more relatively short, self-contained shit like this in the distant future, if anyone has any ideas for topics.

    Bee, I really hope you'll sate my curiosity...what do you mean by 'chamber'?
     
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  21. 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
    You know, like chamber music. :) Should've put it in quotes, I guess.
     
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  22. Quetzacoatl Liturgist

    Quetzacoatl
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    Planescape or the Dystopia portrayed in Brave New World.
     
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