Friday, July 26, 2013

Stealing X-Files (Part 2)

In my last post, I talked about how X-Files plots can be taken (er, stolen) and used as paranormal investigative scenarios; specifically Lovecraftian horror scenarios. In this post, we'll dig a bit deeper into the episode/scenario we are using, Darkness Falls, and mythos-ify it!

The plot of our scenario is as follows:
  • Contact has been lost with a remote lumberjack camp. The investigators are sent in to figure out why.
  • The camp is miles away from civilization. The PCs transportation breaks down just outside of the camp.
  • When they arrive, the camp is empty and the generators have been destroyed.
  • While exploring, the PCs find a body, or bodies, wrapped in a cocoon webbing and hanging from the trees. (SAN CHECK!)
  • The only way out is to hike.
In order to flesh the scenario out more, there are some questions we need to answer.

What is going on? Who or what is behind it?

In a Call of Cthulhu scenario, these two questions often go hand-in-hand. In our scenario, we need to decide what happened to the loggers, and what mythos creature is behind it.

I'm the first to admit that I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Cthulhu mythos, or every creature/GOO that is related to them. Therefore I often reference two books to help me out: The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia and Malleus Monstrorum. I've used both books many times to find an interesting Great Old One or mythos creature to put as the bad guy in a scenario.

For this scenario, the main horror component so far are the bodies wrapped in cocoon webbing. The first thing that I think of when it comes to webs in the Cthulhu Mythos is Atlach-Nacha.

Atlach-Nacha is a Great Old One in the form of a giant spider, that spins a web across an immense, underground chasm. The end of the world will begin when it finishes its web and bridges the chasm. Many tunnels lead into the chasm, and the tunnels lead out to various parts of the world, and the Dreamlands. Perfect!

However, I don't like using GOO's as the main bad guy when I can avoid it. Lovecraft rarely made a GOO the main opponent in a story, and it doesn't necessarily make sense in this case to do this.

Reading further in the Malleus Monstrorum entry for our GOO, we find that the Spiders of Leng worship Atlach-Nacha. This is perfect! We have a mythos creature that we can use as our main bad guy.

But what is going on? The tunnels leading in and out of Atlach-Nacha's chasm provide this answer and the rest of our plot for us.

While cutting down a section of the woods, the ground under a felled tree revealed a passageway underground. Unbeknownst to the lumberjacks, this was one of the tunnels that leads to Atlach-Nacha. That night, a number of Spiders from Leng emerged from the tunnels and attacked the camp. Some of the lumberjacks were taken to the Great Old One as sacrifices/food, and the rest were cocooned for use as food for later...or worse.

In the next post, we'll finish up the scenario - adding in atmosphere, clues, and everything else the investigators will need.

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