My contribution to #SHOCtober II. See set-up here.
This game is based on Cthulhu Dark by Graham Walmsley and Nine Steps And A Bloody Heart (NSAABH) by Lino Pang aka Riccardo Fregi. I am also using the subset of the Game Master’s Apprentice deck from Alone (Larcenous Designs) for inspiration.
Nine steps and a bloody heart is based on steps, each of which includes one or (if the bloody heart card is drawn) more scenes. During each step, a card is drawn from the investigation deck: Bessie and Carlos find the corresponding element is not part of the cult discovered by Abel.
[Before drawing the first card, I have a question: Do Bessie and Carlos read anything in Abel’s diaries requiring an Insight roll? Oracle:NO]
Scene 1 – Card: 6 of Clubs – A Church
A few months earlier, a Zoroastrian temple opened in the City. The press wrote extensively about the event. Might Zoroastrianism be the bizarre cult mentioned by Abel? Carlos and Bessie cooperate in the Investigation [each rolling their “human” dice, according to Cthulhu Dark]:
[Carlos:3 Bessie:6 Rolling a 6 means they discover something disturbing enough to require an Insight roll]
When they visit the temple, a funeral rite has just finished, there is a small crowd in front of the building. The deceased was Eruk, a security guard. Bessie manages to enter the conversation of a group of women.
[GMA: Cheater’s game, weighted dice] Farema works as a waiter at a gambling-house. She was friends with Eruk.
[GMA: Pounding, discordant music] Eruk told her that, while working at night in different areas of the City, it happened to him to hear a distant, disturbing music. It was growing louder from night to night, but he was unable to trace its source. He was determined to understand where it came from. Eruk has been found dead in his house: his body was dismembered and his heart appeared to be missing. Eruk’s death was not reported in the press: who cares about the death of an Indian immigrant?
[Insight rolls – Carlos:5, new Insight=2; Bessie:6, new Insight=2]
That evening Carlos and Bessie discuss their findings: the City really is a more frightening place than they previously thought. Likely, Eruk’s death has nothing to do with what Abel discovered, but what if it does?
Scene 2 – Card:4 of Spades – the Owner of the Sun Palace Hotel
[Is the Owner a man or a woman (50/50): Woman]
Gwendolyn Dubonnet, owner and directory of the Sun Palace Hotel, summons Carlos and Bessie to her office. She knows they are the heirs of Abel, who worked for her for more than a decade. She had noticed that Abel looked worried in the last months, but she could not find a way to help him. She says she feels somehow responsible for his death and wishes she can do something to honour his memory. Is she sincere?
[Bessie uses both her “human” intuition and Insight to assess this point – human:6 insight:5. Again, rolling a 6 means the heroes will experience something relevant to their goal but disturbing]
Bessie feels Gwendolyn is sincere and tells her something about the contents of Abel’s diaries and what they found about Eruk’s death. She is upset to hear of the cult and she start crying. She just cries and mumbles incoherently for several minutes. Apparently, she had nightmares about demons killing people and eating their hearts: this must be what is happening. Bessie and Carlos had always seen Gwendolyn as a cool, rational person: their are upset in their turn by her reaction.
[Insight rolls – Carlos:2, unchanged Insight=2; Bessie:3, new Insight=3]
When Gwendolyn recovers, she says that there are habitual guests of the Hotel who could be related with the cult:
Professor Heidelberg [GMA: halt pandemic] a German epidemiologist who is visiting the local University.
Senator Irving [GMA: the aroma of wine] who regularly visits the City, where he enjoys the several revelries he is so fond of.