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The Many Deaths of ...

My favourite game company, Pelgrane Press just sent out an email for their new Trail of Cthulhu supplement The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby.

The description:
The flamboyant artist Edward Bigsby pays a call to the Investigators on the recommendation of a mutual friend, but dies horrifically before he can tell them what he needs. Soon afterward, the police question the PCs – another corpse matching Bisgby’s description has been found, with their address in his coat pocket. It does not end there; dead Bigsbys are being found all over London.
Now this sounds an interesting and cool idea, and it was!

The scariest thing about this for me is that in 2011, I ran a campaign for my gaming group. The campaign's name actually became the name of the group, The Ely Cabal.

This was a Trail of Cthulhu adventure set in Ely, Cambridgeshire in the 1920s where a group of people discover a series of strange phenomenon and end up having to save the city.

One of the sessions was entitled: The Many Deaths of John Rivers.

The Many Deaths of John Rivers

This is the notes I recorded in Evernote, dated 8th March, 2011:

Whilst mountaineering with a colleague John Rivers slips and falls to his death.
Meanwhile a second man with the same face and ID is killed in a car accident. Both deaths are witnessed by close friends.
The wife is compelled to ask for help to investigate from the friends.
The sting is that several of the PC's are responsible for murdering John at different points over the last week!
John's fall to his "death" actually led him to a temple - the magic within allowing him to project doubles out.
The isolation, crippling wounds and discovery of his friends betrayal has driven him mad and the onslaught of murderous doubles becomes bent on vengeance.
Now I don't think I was able to hook all the characters in having killed a man in the past week but I ended up using the same basic premise. Also my notebooks originally used the name "John Learnett" before revising the plot into the main story arc.

The set up was that one of the investigators was a police inspector so I could hand the odd cases directly over.

A man named John Rivers had been killed in a car accident at the railway station. Appears the wife had crashed into him, killing him. She kept repeating "He's dead."

Her husband's colleague arrived, saw the body and freaked out, begging for help and it was our investigators who drew the short straw.

Over the course of the adventure they discovered Mrs Rivers had been having an affair with the colleague of her husband.

Whilst on an expedition to some remote part of the world, just begging for a Mythos link, the colleague had helped John Rivers "slip" down a crevasse.

So the wife sat at Ely railway station awaiting her lover, when her husband, who she had been told was dead walked out in front of her, deliberately killing himself.

"Be careful crossing a river"

John Rivers was actually our main antagonist. He barely survived the fall but made some form of deal to server the Deep Ones. Part of this deal was the ability to rise again from water if killed.

However John Rivers was not an angered, spurred lover back from the dead for revenge. He had travelled to the remote place to find the temple because he was already evil.

So the investigators were introduced to this killer and caught onto his conspiracy to flood the fens by the same hook as introduced in this new supplement.

Weird huh?

The Correspondents of Richard Grange

The other hook I really liked from the campaign was in The Correspondents of Richard Grange, a letter arrives from the executor of professor Grange's will. It explains one of the instructions was to send a list of Grange's correspondents to everyone on the list.

The bookseller received this curious list and immediately began making enquiries with the others. Of course a good number of the people on that list were already dead and geographically the killer was getting closer.

That was before the players were introduced to John Rivers, but he was in fact taking out all the people who stood a chance at stopping him, the bookseller as well.

Rivers slowly began taking out the cluster of people who could stop him building up to torturing the bookseller and trying to burn him alive in his shop.

The Immortal Spanish Knight

Just when the investigators thought they knew what was going on the twist was that John Rivers was actually a Spanish Knight, who during the crusades was turned by followers of Cthulhu. He had been preparing for this for centuries.

His latest cover as an academic allowed him to find out those with enough knowledge that could stop him. However the investigators managed to track down the most important piece of information. Exactly where the knight's body was entombed, in Ely Cathedral.

So as the city flooded, and Deep Ones stalked the streets they had to infiltrate the Cathedral and incinerate the remains so he could never rise again.

It was actually a really fun campaign and whilst the group's changed a lot since then, I still have fond memories of The Many Deaths of...

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