The Nocturnum

Episode 10: The Bone Dealers

Original Air Date: 4/17/2005

This episode is based upon and expanded from a Call of Cthulhu scenario by Dr. Michael P. Labosierre. The original text and notes on which this adventure is based can be found here. The events outlined in the linked scenario form the latter half of the adventure; the former half was improvised based upon a number of things I needed to have happen, and information I needed the Cast to obtain.

(Thanks to Jack and Craig from the Buffy RPG Discussion Forums for the Drusilla-isms!)

Special Guest Star:

Juliet Landau as Drusilla

Brief Synopsis

A week has passed since Anita's kidnapping by the Cult of Revelations. A week with very little headway made on either Anita's situation or Drake's. Anita has been plagued by nightmares in which she unmasks the Black Sorcerer and sees all manner of horrors (the two described in this scenario involved a nest of vipers leaping from beneath the veil, and Anita seeing her own face behind the veil).

Silas shows up at the Hive to inform the Cast that he has been hired by Drusilla to restore Drake to humanoid form after a prophecy went awry and turned him into a bull. It seems that Draco and Drusilla have acquired the Slayer that the group thought was with Wolfram and Hart. Worse, this girl has the added power of being able to write prophecies which then immediately come true! It seems that Draco and Drusilla have been experimenting with the girl's powers, trying to boost their own. Fortunately, prophecies are never that precise, and it was Draco's desire for more strength that lead to a prophecy stating, "the one from two will gain strength as a bull."

He turned into a bull. Hence, Silas's services were necessary.

As the Cast ponders the implications of Draco having possession of a girl who can literally write the future, Cyan announces that while studying arcane texts in CMU's rare book collection, she has come upon information that could bring Drake back to them: a spell which only can be obtained through "Dealing with the Dwellers of the Charnel Yard." Anita is insistent that no deals with creatures from beyond the pale will be made.

Anita calls John into her office and warns him about Cyan's excessive use of magic of late, and her growing obsession with dark knowledge. She warns John that Magic can become addictive, and Cyan is edging into very dangerous territory. John is unhappy. Anita, in turn, is curious and concerned about John's sudden knowledge of the various covenants and their activities...particularly those of the Twilight Order. John lectures Anita about keeping secrets and insists he came upon the knowledge by greasing the right palms in the demon underworld.

Anita gets a call from Alan, who wants to meet the group at 2:30 am in a parking garage to discuss another "errand" to help his researches. The group decides to go out for dinner and drinks first.

At the Grand Concourse restaurant, they encounter none other than Draco and Drusilla, out for dinner themselves, and dinner consists of a dead waitress sitting between the two. Draco raises his glass, filled with a red liquid that is likely not wine. John runs for his bag of guns in the car.

Cyan begins to intone a spell. Draco grabs a child and recommends against it. Cyan blasts Drusilla through a wall with a lightning bolt. Draco begins to back out with the child, and Anita uses her necromantic powers to stun him. He falls and drops the child.

Outside, John rounds the corner, knowing full well he has no chance of making the car before the battle is over. He runs face first into Nyarlathotep, who hands him his bag and says, "Have fun." John kisses Nyarlathotep and runs back into the restaurant.

Drusilla throws Draco over her shoulder and runs for the back door, ranting, "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!" John gives chase. Drusilla uses a new trick she picked up to turn both herself and Draco into bats. The two escape into the night. The next morning the Cast will discover that they performed a massacre at a local movie theater, and set their minions on downtown Pittsburgh. The other local demon hunting group (Jamie, Daniel, Megan, and Jim) tell John, Anita, Father Bob, and Cyan that they encountered the pack of minions and dusted ten of them.

But we're getting head of ourselves. The Cast goes to meet Alan. He tells them that he has come across evidence of a family (the Blaines) who he believes are in the grip of the Outer Dark, and have been involved with nefarious dealings since the 1800's. He wants the Cast to investigate and stop the family if they are in fact involved in dark dealings. Naturally, he also asks that they bring him any records and books the group may have. The family lives near the small town of Catheway, 45 minutes east of Pittsburgh.

The Cast travels to Catheway to discover that the family, degraded from generations of inbreeding, is feared and despised in the town. Using Anita's ability to astral project, they perform recon on the house and discover evidence of grave robbing, and dealings with a small army of ghouls beneath the house. Anita is able to infer that the ghouls are not happy with their place, that the family has enslaved them and they wish to be set free. She also sees John Blane poring over an old manuscript illuminated with pictures of ghouls and spells for summoning, binding, and communicating with "Dwellers of the Charnel Yard."

That night, the Cast sneaks into the Blaine house. John and Cyan head for the study upstairs, hoping to quietly steal the books and get out, leaving a call with the state police about the grave robbing evidence. Anita, failing to follow the basic rules of surviving a horror movie, hears noises in the basement and goes to investigate. She finds herself face-to-face with John Blaine, holding the book on ghouls, and a talisman. He is surrounded by 30 ghouls. He points to Anita and shouts, "Kill her!"

Anita quickly gives Blaine a Taste of Death (see WitchCraft core rulebook for details on this Necromantic power). Blaine falls and drops the book and talisman.

Upstairs, John and Cyan hear the cry of "Kill her!" and the gibbering of dozens of ghouls. This also awakens the rest of the Blaine family. John and Cyan hide in the shadows, however, and dispatch the three cultists from behind. They race down the stairs in time to see Anita dive head first into a press of ghouls. The ghouls attack, but Anita bobs and weaves her way through, racing against Blaine for the book and talisman. As the Ghouls turn on Anita and Blaine, Cyan yells out, "NO! Stop! We can help you!"

The ghouls pause. Blaine leaps up and pulls a gun. Cyan uses her sorcery-based TK to rip the gun from Blaine's hand and pistol whip him with it. She then sends him flying across the room. Anita grabs the book and talisman, and discovers she can now understand the ghouls.

She makes a deal: You give us a spell to get our friend back, and I give you this talisman. The ghouls ask where Drake is. Anita responds, "The Twilight World." The ghouls say, "we are from the Twilight World. We can help."

John binds Blaine's hands with duct tape and leaves him under guard with Anita and Cyan, then goes upstairs to search for more books. The Ghouls go underground and return with a thick tome entitled, The Book of Twilight. They give the book to Anita in return for the talisman. Blaine goes mad and makes a dash for the door. The ghouls kill and eat him. Anita tells the ghouls they have 10 minutes to vacate the premesis before the Cast blows the house sky high. John rigs the oil furnace and a poorly-maintained alcohol still to explode. The Cast goes home.

The next day, they convene at the Schenley Park Hellmouth to attempt a spell from the Book of Twilight to bring Drake back. The spell works with dazzling effects, and the group is thrown backwards from a flash of crimson light and a shockwave. When they recover, they see Drake sitting at the center of the circle, alive...but blind.

Great Quotes:

Anita (after directing Cyan to some books on dark magic): Boy, I'm an enabler.

John: I'm still bitter that Anita has a cool nickname in the Demon Underworld. I want to be the Executioner.
Cyan: You're Pooky.
John: I'm pretty sure my demon underworld nickname is not, "Pooky."
Director: It is, now. And a Drama Point to Cyan for thinking of it.

Cyan: If we make a deal with the Dwellers of the Charnel Yard...
Anita: There will be no deal making!

John: Okay, now when you say, "addicted..."
Anita: I'm saying that magic is an addiction, and a dangerous one.
John: Right, but are we talking cigarettes or crack whore, here?

Anita: I'm just thinking that she will listen to you better than to me.
John: And exactly what from our past gives you the impression that Cyan listens to anything I say?

Anita: Wait a second, you only spent $300 to find out about my order!?
John: Yeah, and I felt ripped off. That was more like a $50 piece of info.

(Anita gets angry and storms out)
John: Hey, it's your office. Shouldn't you be kicking me out?

Cyan: You really don't know much about women, do you?
John: I kill things.

(John comes upstairs holding a newly-delivered package that's addressed to him, and looking concerned.)
Cyan: Oooh! They came! Do you like them?
John: Oh, thank God.

Anita: Some couples have matching rings. You have matching gun cases.

(Cyan and John start talking about kinky sex again...)
Anita: So, Father
Father Bob: Yes! (the two leave)
John: You just love doing that to her, don't you?
Cyan: Yes! Like the sparkly K-Y thing. Nobody uses sparkly K-Y. But the look on her face was priceless.
John: Baby, I luuuurve you.

Drusilla: Does her blood make me look fat?

Drusilla: clip its buttons, pull its fur! Anita has been a bad teddy tonight. There shall be no cake for anyone!

Drusilla: "Ashes! Ashes! All fall down."

Alan: I really appreciate your help.
Cyan: Anything for one of Anita's boyfriends.
Alan: She has more than one?
Cyan: No, I mean her boyfriend. Just the one...sometimes I just shouldn't talk.

John: I'd love to have a silencer for every one of my guns. But I just desire it, though. I don't actually wish it...

Anita (to Alan): Darling, sometimes I think you read too much.

Anita: The things I do for love.
John: Tell me about it.

Cyan: We could just sneak in at night, fan out, and shoot them all in the head while they sleep. That'd solve the problem.
(Everyone--John included--just stares at Cyan in mute horror).
Cyan: What? It would...

John Blaine: They're lying! You mean to tell me you're going to believe a group of demonic creatures over me?
Anita: Absolutely.

Great moments:

Cyan gains minor paranoia from her delves into forbidden books.

John kisses Nyarlathotep.

Cyan throws a lightning bolt at Drusilla, sending her through a wall.

Cyan senses Alan holding something back. She gets very pushy when trying to get him to fess it up, leading to a bout of Anita's paranoia.

Cyan shocks the group by suggesting they commit multiple counts of cold-blooded murder.

Anita dives head-first into a swarm of ghouls, and manages to dodge all their attempts to bite her.

After her adamant insistance that the group would not be dealing with forces from beyond the pale, Anita is the one to strike a bargain with the ghouls.

The group casts a powerful spell that pulls Drake out of the Twilight World.