Day 4 of the Kraken 2014 left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand I had gotten in a game with BRP-author Jason Durall and the freeform was being held on this day. On the other hand it was the last day already ! The Kraken 2014 had flown by way too fast. The winner of the Kraken lottery was decided and he won nothing less than a copy of Cthulhu Wars !
I was looking over the board holding the gaming sessions and hinted Glyn towards the World War Cthulhu scenario which I was about to play in so he happily joined his name to the list. The session started with a quick character creation due to Jason only deciding last minute to visit the Kraken. But it was a very fast process which basically revolved around answering a number of questions and based on the answers being able to add certain percentages to the skill list. We were then given the premise of the game. A German submarine had gotten stranded and was suspected to have a translation device on board so a special team was set up to raid the submarine and to recover the device. Upon reaching the submarine in our small raft we could see that the submarine had been damaged on the outside. The outside guns were ripped off by great force and something had left a hole in the outer hull. That hole looked as if it was being outwards and its edges were metal deformed by extreme amounts of heat it seemed.
Very odd. We climbed on top of the submarine with some of us not being very stealthy, clinkering and clankering up on the boat. We opened the hatch carefully but could hear no reaction from the inside. Glyn went in first and I followed. Once inside we did hear noises coming from the back of the submarine. The command post had a strange device seemingly hotwired to the submarine with wires going all over the ship. At that moment a german in plain clothes entered the command post looking scared. Very scared. After being disarmed he wanted to see the readings on the device, the results only resulting in more fear. “It’s coming back” he kept repeating and mumbled about some kind of worm that was attacking the ship. Then the submarine started shaking from an impact. Glyn went to investigate the next room and sees a dragon/worm like creature wrestle itself through the submarine’s hull. The creature went completely through, warping the metal but luckily not harming Glyn.
The German turned out to be a scientist who had developed the device based on some schematics they found. The device formed some kind of barrier that the creature could only breach by turning itself incorporeal but then still it had trouble getting through. So no translation machine huh? Another great mess we had gotten ourselves into. The scientist doesn’t really have an explanation about why the device pisses this creature off, just that it has killed a lot of the crew and seems to be hellbent on destroying it (and its creator). So then the discussion starts between the players. What do we do ? Just leave since our mission was a translation device, take the device and leave the crew, take the device and the scientist but leave the crew, take all of them, … In the end we decide upon a plan where we would wait for the creature to return, let it crawl through the hull, then when it’s inside we would turn off the machine, which would hopefully turn the creature back to its corporeal form and, being stuck in a submarine, kill it.
Me and Felix having knowledge of electrical devices got together to hotwire the device to a battery with the help of the scientist. We then cut the wiring, detaching the device from the ship and having it transportable with the battery. Together with Felix I went outside to see if my radio was working. Nope. The device’s shield was interfering with the transmission. So I edged closer and closer to the edge of the ship trying to find the limit of the invisible shield. I found its edges and was able to call to our pick up but there was no reply. Then Felix pointed to the water and before he even screamed, I sprinted back to the hatch (rolling below 10) and got back into the submarine safely. Felix however got a good look at the creature and ran screaming into the ship’s hull. Glyn and I then took the device outside and watched the creature slowly climb the hull. It then realized that we were quite vulnerable out there and that if the creature would have wanted to destroy the device, we put it right there in front of it with no way to protect it.
Luckily the creature wanted revenge on the scientist first and started its entry through the hull. When it was about halfway through, Glyn flipped the switch on the device and indeed the creature turned corporeal. It was time to go. The German crew had pushed off their raft immediately after the creature had emerged. We were about to do the same but we were missing Felix. So I went back into the submarine to get him. When we reached the hatch, we could see the creature reaching out for the scientist. His screams would hunt us for a while as we scrambled out the hatch and into the raft. By then, again, we had run out of time as some of us had to play the freeform which was scheduled next. Very unfortunate as Jason told us we had only played the first part of the adventure. There would be more waiting for us ashore. I hope this scenario gets published somewhere. I’d love to run it for my group. Great atmosphere. Really a great game.
Glyn and I hurried over the breakfast room where the freeform The Scions of Dr. Mabuse would be played. When I got there, people were already dressed so I hurried to the car to get my costume and joined the group a bit later. The first person I encountered was Commissioner Heinz Luhmann, a retired Scotland Yard investigator who seemed to know me from one of his cases. The reputable art dealer that I was, I of course acted offended by the mere notion of me being involved in anything criminal. I ended up giving the inspector some advice on future career paths and about ten minutes later he concluded I was sincere and could be trusted. One down, a few more to go. Dr. Anna-Katharina Kurzweil approached me, and showed off her incredible machine which seemed to be missing some components. She hoped I would perhaps be able to help her with that. And asked me about some Babylonian items too. Unfortunately that was not my area of expertise so I couldn’t help her. Then the body of Dr. Evensong was discovered and everything turned into complete chaos for a moment. As my character sheet mentioned that I had no clue about where I had spent the past 30 minutes (exactly the time of the murder), I kept myself as unnoticed as possible.
I ended up in a conversation with Mrs Elvira Winkelstoss and Mrs Eni Seifenball and mentioned that the victim still owed me some money. I wasn’t the only one it seemed. When I revealed to the book dealer that it was a great opportunity for her, this death, since there are no relatives and thus victim’s book collection would most likely be auctioned off or sold, … well that got both of them thinking. It seemed they had found some motive for the murder all of a sudden. I continued my conversation with filmmaker Seifenball as she was looking for funding for a new project. Me, being a fan of her work, agreed to be an executive producer on the movie, in return for a few small favors which happened to benefit myself. Business is business, even if there’s a corpse in the adjacent room. A big part of the group was trying to solve the mystery of the murder but there was another game being played too. A game of powerful criminals who were trying to figure each other out.
And so it happened that widow Hermine Schrupp ended up in a room with me, trying to blackmail me with some things that happened in my past. There was quite some misunderstanding on my part on what exactly Mrs Schrupp was showing me so we had to get one of the GM’s involved who explained to me what was going on. At the end of the game it turned out I had still misunderstood exactly how the manuscripts worked but anyway, back to Mrs Schrupp and her blackmail attempt. It didn’t work very well, she ended up showing me her manuscript without me returning the favor and told me some interesting things I hadn’t figured out yet. Another person had a manuscript and she would send him to me. It turned out to be Comte Hérvé d’Auteuil, the banker. He was a bit more difficult to deal with, thinking he was running the show. We showed each other our manuscripts, then went our own ways trying to figure out who else had a manuscript.
I ran into a group of people who started questioning me on my memory loss. I of course denied having the memory loss. A few moments later I realized “everyone” experienced this memory loss. D’oh. But yeah, no turning back now so I continued denying it. It turned out the majority of the group had pretty much solved the murder. They had entered the names of the guests into Dr Kurzweil’s machine and it had offered statistical ‘evidence’ on who was responsible for the murder. My name surprisingly was not on the list. But that suited me very well. They also told me how an experimental television that Dr Evensong had built, had hypnotized everyone and then everyone had turned on the victim and stabbed him to death. I see. I totally missed that part of the game. So I was genuinely confused when they were telling me all that. But it all fit perfectly with me being the innocent, if somewhat confused, art dealer. The group even gave me the suspects indicated by the machine. And they told me Dr. Fritz Breit was hypnotizing people. Well I had my list of manuscript owners now.
Then a new body was found outside of the house. The group went there and the manuscript owners ended up being in a room all together. A big discussion went on about showing the manuscripts and in the end I got to see all the manuscripts without adding my own to the pile. The situation was so chaotic that one of the GM’s even thought that was all the manuscripts in the game until I took him aside and showed him my own. He told me I had to make a choice, either be part in the ritual that was going to take place or not. Here’s where I misunderstood how the manuscripts worked. I thought that once you saw someone’s manuscript, that you would absorb its power in some way. So at the end of the game it was the banker and myself who had seen all manuscripts and thus were, in my understanding, the most powerful criminals. That turned out to be not correct and everyone who had a manuscript was needed for the ritual to summon Dr. Mabuse back to reality.
The rest of the group then burst into the room in the middle of our ritual. Some of them were quite surprised to see me standing between the criminals. They had three chances to disrupt the ritual but they all failed, causing us to successfully summon Dr. Mabuse back from wherever he had been before. Then, to everyone’s surprise, suddenly Jeff Richard of Moon Design bursts into the room, holding a badge in his hand, playing the role of a special investigator wanting to know what was going on. He interrogated the criminals one by one but Dr. Mabuse was able to convince him that nothing was going on. The manuscript owners, after successfully summoning Dr. Mabuse had all thrown their manuscript into the fireplace. When they wanted to burn mine, I gestured that I would burn it myself, walked over to the fireplace, and placed my manuscript in the bookcase next to it. So in the end, I was the only one with a manuscript left.
After the freeform we had a debriefing where everyone explained their character’s involvement in the whole thing. Great to hear all the stories. Poor Michaela (filmmaker). I’m pretty sure she won’t believe anything I tell her in the Kraken 2016’s freeform. The aftermath of the freeform caused me to miss the Cardinal’s Blades session (sorry about that one Philippe!). While everyone was outside waiting for the banquet to start in the castle’s cellar, the group picture and ending ceremony were held. Contest winners were announced and GM’s were rewarded with prizes for running games.
During the banquet I joined Jeff Richard and Jason Durall at their table and we talked about their move to Germany and roleplaying games (duh). I also had a great conversation with Jason’s girlfriend Anne who turned out to have been involved in activism back the States so we shared some experiences. The evening ended with Sandy’s Lovecraftian quiz to which I unfortunately didn’t know a lot of answers but I was able to help out Glyn with the little knowledge I possessed.
That concludes my reports on the Kraken 2014. A convention/vacation that I can’t recommend enough. A place that I will return to as many times as it will be organized and I really feel sad for having missed the very first one. 2016, hurry up will you ! I need more Kraken !