Tomes of Terror

Session Three
A sinister maze fails to prevent the group achieving success

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The teams converge back at the motel and process the seized hard drive, uncovering the business files of Ebden Burns, the proprietor of Burns’ Books. They discover that he has been searching for The Revelations of Glaaki Volume IV online without success. A search of Ebden’s e-mails reveals communications with a Ralph Myers and an unknown party linked to the Miskatonic University library. The group decide that they will return to the deserted shop that day and conduct a thorough search of the basement.

Back at the shop they secure the entrances and post Carl on guard. The rest of the group then descends into the basement and tentatively investigate the maze like configuration of rooms. They discover room after room, all eerily similar – identical dimensions, numerous boxes of books, doors, bloody hand prints, puddles of blood and the odd ominous bloody drag mark. Furthermore the complex doesn’t seem to make geometric sense when the investigators map the site. They systematically mark their route and persevere to the outer limits of the maze discovering, after 90+ mins, a series of tunnels at the north end of the basement complex. The scene becomes too ominous for Dale and he decides to return to the surface and wait with Carl.

The rest of the team proceeds down one of the tunnels and shortly comes to an opening. They observe a middle aged man kneeling in the middle of an occult symbol daubed on the floor, next to the pulped remains of a human being. Daring to move forward the group discover that the horrifically mutilated body is that of Ralph Myers and that the kneeling man is Ebden Burns. Ebden is covered in blood, rocking backwards and forwards, and quite insane – apparently traumatised by some terrible event; all he will say is the phrase “It isn’t real!” over and over again. He is also tightly clutching a book to his chest. The group decides that the best course of action is to get out of the sinister cavern and take the near-catatonic bookshop owner with them. They carry him back to the shop and pry the book from him, finding that it’s the stolen copy of The Revelations of Glaaki Volume IV. After a discussion on the best course of action the group decides that Team B will drive Ebden out to Arkham General Hospital and leave him outside the ER (after stripping him of all ID and his shop keys). The group then informs Ed O’Brian of the good news.

That evening Heather resumes reading the copy of Azathoth and Others that was found in a local bookshop and once again suffers a night of horrific and terrible dreams concerning a swirling and terribly powerful living chaos.

The next day, Thursday, Team C inspects Ralph Myers’ broken cell phone and discovers a series of calls to and from Ebden; they also have Myers’ house keys, although his driving licence reveals that he lives in Boston, not Arkham. Team A heads over to the university and informs Dean Clements of the recovery of one of the books before handing it over to him, they also request a list of all the people who work in the Jeremiah Orne library; a slightly more relieved Dean happily agrees to this.

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Session Two
The investigation proceeds well

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Team C spend all of Tuesday afternoon covertly checking out Arkham’s bookstores which results in a number of comical and fruitless encounters (The Good News Bookshop and Moonbeam books being particularly amusing) but they do find a copy of Azathoth and Others lost behind one of the bookshelves in Church Street Used Books. All the bookshops are duly visited except one and since its 1730 it’ll have to wait till the next day.

Team A pay Professor Fairbanks a visit in his office and interview him. They learn that the professor has only been at the University for little over a year and that he has been lecturing his sophomore and junior classes on the subject of forbidden literature and society’s treatment of banned books and their readers. The professor has issued these two classes assignments and has taken them in groups of 15 into the Restricted Section four times each – he states that he doesn’t know which of his students were interested in the stolen books. He recalls definitely seeing the four stolen books in the library on the Monday afternoon. The two investigators ask to attend his next lecture which he agrees to. The professor doesn’t bother giving a lecture himself, instead he starts a video for his class and the investigators spend a few minutes observing the students before deciding to move on – they leave behind a single business card.

Team A moves on to interview the last of the Restricted Section key holders – Gus Sanderson. They make their way over to the plant building and locate the Head of Maintenance’s office. They find Gus and begin to question him and duly find him somewhat aggravated by their accusations that he doesn’t keep the key press properly secured during office hours. They learn that the key press is kept open during the day and that Gus’ system involves employees signing keys in and out of a ledger. The investigators check through the ledgers but discover nothing of note and conclude with an interview of one of Gus’ assistants. They do however detect the stale reek of alcohol emanating from Gus.

The teams reconvene at the motel over a Chinese takeaway and discus their findings. Malcolm checks in with Ed O’Brian and confirms that the investigation is still on track. Heather begins to read the strange new book she found earlier – that night she has a very ominous and disturbing dream.

The next morning Team B heads over to the student union building to interview several of the campus police. During the first meeting they get their wires crossed and the campus police think they are being asked about one of the campus trouble-makers – Luke Dewer. Back on track the officers say that they haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary preceding the crime but given the lapse state of security on campus it would have been very easy for an outside party to have committed the thefts. Another officer confirms the poor security and that the only thing odd preceding the crime has been several sightings from female students of a mysterious figure peering at them from outside the bathroom and bedroom windows of their dorms.

Team C travel the short distance to the last bookshop on their list – Burns’ Books. They find the small shop open but seemingly deserted. A thorough check reveals many old vintage tomes and still no signs of life. Pushing on into the premises the investigators decide to check out the basement where they spot a single bloody handprint on a wall; they hastily beat a retreat and call for reinforcements. Team A duly arrive and the two teams re-enter the premises. Back down in the basement they proceed through the closed door next to the bloody handprint and discover a similar room with a small pool of blood on the floor. The new room has more doors and the investigators also check these out to discover yet more similarly proportioned rooms with more bloody prints and pools of blood. Malcolm becomes spooked by the extended basement complex and presence of blood and decides to withdraw his teams. They quickly check the upstairs of the property and find the living quarters and possessions of a single middle-aged man and mail addressed to a “MR E. Burns”. They also locate a desktop PC and decide to remove its hard drive for later forensic analysis. They then leave the shop as they found it without informing the police and head back to the motel.

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Session One
The investigation gets underway

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Ed O’Brian calls the three teams of investigators into his office and explains that he received a call from a Dean Clements of Miskatonic University (MU) in Arkham. The university experienced the theft of four rare books from its prestigious library during the previous week and it is felt that the police are not doing enough to progress the case and recover the stolen items. The university is paying very good money for Eagle Bond to conduct a well manned and professional investigation. When questioned why so many investigators are being dispatched on this one case Ed explains that when he was a young policeman in Arkham during the 80s he witnessed a few strange things and he believes in the principle of safety in numbers. He informs them that they should drive down to Arkham and meet with the dean as soon as possible; motel rooms have been secured for the team in the French Hill district close to the campus. Malcolm Ashford is the most senior of the investigators and is assigned the role of team lead and is also instructed to check in with Ed at the end of each day and provide a progress report.

The team drives the short distance to Arkham in a convoy of three cars and book into their motel before arranging a visit with the dean that very night. By 5pm they are sat in the dean’s office on the third floor of the administration building. The dean explains the circumstances of the theft, the fact that there were no signs of a break in and that there are only three keys to the Restricted Section, and also confirms that the four missing titles stolen from the Restricted Section are:

The Necronomicon
Cultes Des Goules
The Book of Eibon
The Revelations of Glaaki

The dean agrees to arrange a visit of the crime scene with himself and the head of campus security, Max Fallon, first thing the next morning.

That evening the team head over to the Arkham House of Pizza close to their motel to discuss their plan of approach to the investigation. It is quickly decided that they will break into their three pairs (teams A, B and C) and conduct different strands of the investigation to cover more ground in less time. That night the team spend an uneventful night in their moderately okay motel – the only notable occurrence being Malcolm’s rather anti-social misuse of the free cable TV, much to his roommate’s, the more junior investigator Carl Paronuzzi, disgust.

The next morning team A head downtown to the Arkham PD and meet with Detective John Stubbs, who is a rather jaded, slobby and slightly offensive character. Fortunately Malcolm’s seniority and bearing wins him enough respect to be informed by the veteran police officer that there isn’t much to go on but he definitely believes the thefts were an inside job.

Team B turn up at the prearranged meeting to view the crime scene and get to interview both Max Fallon, the head of campus security and Adele Parkes, the head librarian. The duo learn the security set up – the campus police patrols, the alarm systems, the key card entry system and the roving librarian walk-throughs of the reference wing and checks on the Restricted Section. Looking at the crime scene through the police tape sealed entrance it appears that there’s an absence of the tell tale signs of a break in. The team also learns more details of the stolen books themselves as well as the fact that Professor Gregory Fairbanks, one of the Restricted Section key holders, has recently been showing his classes around that area as well as the books themselves.

Team C spend the morning conducting online research on the stolen books and on the university as well as Professor Fairbanks. They learn that a copy of Volume III of the Revelations of Glaaki was being sold on Amazon.com by a seller in Japan for $17,000. Of the other books there is nothing except the Necronomicon: there are historical records of the Catholic Church executing people, mainly by burning, for possessing the book throughout the 12-17th centuries. The only copy that appears to be available in modern times was the one held by MU. The duo also look up all the book dealers in Arkham under the hunch that whoever stole the books may seek to sell them locally.

The teams re-converge at the Rivertown bar Neon Neptune’s for lunch and a discussion of the morning’s activities. They agree the afternoon’s team plans and duly set about them. Team B decides to re-interview Max Fallon again in his office to clear up some facts; they obtain rota lists for the library opening and closings and quickly determine that Shaqeela Roberts was on the duty for the week of the thefts. They confirm that the stolen books were not electronically tagged and that the main fraternities are Sigma Phi and Delta Phi while the two sororities are Gamma Delta and Kappa Delta Phi. Quizzing about on-campus religious groups they learn of the Campus Christian Alliance (CCA) and the Pagan Academics Network (PAN). The campus police patrol rota doesn’t reveal anything special but they do learn that a peeping tom has been reported prowling around the dorms late at night on at least four occasions while the police logs also show that there was an incident concerning a vagrant intruding into the campus administration building. A brief online search also reveals that the two overt Arkham occult societies are “We Are Wicca” (WAW) and the “Arkham Witches Society" (AWS).

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