Call of Cthulhu Recap: Mystery of the Old Corbitt House

Call of Cthuhlu type illustration featuring creature tentacles coming out of well

Nothing to see here. Just an average day in Lovecraft’s universe.

After a very long time of not playing a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game adventure I had the opportunity to step in an investigator’s shoes again thanks to my pal Katie who ran a game. (Plug: She’s also an author and you can get her current book The RX Problem in paper form here or electronic here.) Since its the horrifying month of Spooktober, I thought I’d share the adventure. Prepare yourself for the horror!

I decided to play a new character this time. Mark Whitman, WWI vet who went MIA during the war, reappeared several years later completely insane. He was given experimental treatment and he’s now a more or less stable drifter with no memory of the last several years.

He was joined by Penny an 18 year old professional typist. Basically she did a lot of reading and wants to explore the world. Totally a research type character.

Then we had Archibald Malone an alcoholic priest who was also a bit of a drifter. Also there was “Rigel” a weirdo artist who was almost murdered by a guy that commissioned a strange sculpture from him. And Jessica, a journalist/actress who is handy with a gun.

call-of-cthulhu-rpg_corbitthouse2

They were hired by a landlord who wanted them to stay the night in the old Corbitt house (this is probably the most played Cthulhu adventures since it’s a starting one in all the books). Bad things happened to his previous tenants. There were two parents and both went insane. Their kids were sent off to live with relatives. We were to stay there so he could prove to the world that nothing was wrong with the house, so other people wouldn’t be afraid to rent it. Which in retrospect is kind of silly just letting some hobos have run of your house… but whatever. We all thought it was a good idea for around twenty bucks plus a small bonus.

So we began by what any sensible group of hobos, artists, journalists, and adventures would do: We went to the library! And boy we researched. Then we went to the hall of records for more research, then back to the library!

call-of-cthulhu-rpg_library

What we found was that there was a creepy guy by the name of Corbit that had lived there and had possibly been buried there. Corbit had been connected to a creepy church which had run into some major trouble with the police. There had been an incident where the police raided and had gotten into a big shootout with the cops. 54 cultists were arrested, but everything had really been covered up.

So yeah, things looked really promising that this place *wasn’t* haunted.

The crew went to the neighborhood where the house was located and we ended up finding the ruins of the cultist church. Mark and Pastor Malone fell through the floorboards and found some skeletons and an old book bound in human flesh. So of course we had the Typist read some of the Latin and she lost a bit of sanity. Welcome to the real world, kid.

We decided it was time to check out the house because A. We felt like we found all the clues we could find. B. It was getting late and some people in the group had to work in the morning.

The house was creepy in an abandoned house where the tenants had gone insane kind of way. There were a lot of crucifixes and rosaries everywhere leading the protestant Pastor to remark, “Yep, Catholics and their weird mumbo jumbo voodoo.” The first floor didn’t really reveal a whole lot, so Jessica, Mark, and Penny went up to the second floor. Meanwhile the Rigel the Artist and Pastor Malone began to steal some coats they found, because that’s the kind of people they are.

call-of-cthulhu-rpg_corbitthouse

The second floor was more of the same except we heard noises on the other side of a door. Jessica and Mark were going to open the door, but the priest came up and was really excited about the prospect of doing it. So the team let him while the other two covered him with pistols drawn, because we all know that ghosts hate guns. The pastor walked around the room until suddenly a bed flew at him and hit him. It almost pushed him out the window, but he managed to jump on top of the bed then escape the room.

The team decided to keep exploring. It was then the Priest said, “Hey, we seem pretty cool about the fact that a bed just tried to kill me. We’re just moving on like that was a normal thing?” Such is the life of a character in a horror game.

Call of Cthulhu - Corbitt's Dagger

The team made their way to the basement where the rickety old stairs gave out for the artist who hurt himself in the fall. Artists, right? Mark began exploring the room and found a “rusty” old knife so of course he touched it the first chance he got. The result was a knife flying around that stabbed him and cut Jessica when she grabbed it and couldn’t hold on. Eventually the pastor found a piece of wood and got the knife all nice and stuck in it.

It was then that Pastor Malone asked, “Is this really worth 20 bucks?” The team had an introspective moment wondering if the things they were seeing were worth the cash they were being paid to explore a place full of objects trying to kill them, but they decided to press on (including the pastor who was a bit reluctant.)

Onto the next room of the basement!

It was at this point that Mark and Jessica realized that one of the walls was wooden and hollow. Mark found an axe and decided it was a good deal to chop down the wall. As soon as there was a hole a ton of rats poured out and fled the house. Always a good sign.

Mark continued to chop and found the next wall had a cult sign scratched into it. Nothing was stopping him at this point so he kept chopping away until he broke through that final wall where the team found a table with some papers on it and more importantly an old desiccated corpse thing laying on a pallet in the room. Lovely.

Everyone in the room felt a bit of a tingle, like something had tried to reach into our brains.

Mark decided that the best course of action was to cut the head off the corpse (Rigel the artist had the excellent suggestion of cutting the head off and stuffing the body full of crucifixes). However, Mark’s attention was brought to the the corner of the room where there was a creature that looked like it was half ape and half insect.

call-of-cthulhu-rpg_shambler

The priest decided that he was going to run, but before he could Mark switched to his pistol and shot the bug monkey visibly hurting it. Mark yelled, “It can be killed people. Fire away!”

Penny the typist ran to the table to check out the papers in the hopes that there was some sort of spell we could use. There was not. Rigel decided to take action and use a blowtorch on the corpse in the room. It was suggested that this whole scene was a beautiful art installation. Rigel said, “Nobody else gets to be up in here,” pointing to his brain and he hit the body with the blowtorch.

At this point the GM said, “The corpse screams.” To which the artist replied, “And I’m happy.” We realized that we knew the name of his upcoming art project.

Call of Cthulhu - Walter Corbitt

Now this resulted in some loss of sanity for everyone, and only a tiny fraction lost for Mark who was pretty used to some horrific things thanks to The Great War.

The corpse got up and put some major hurting on Rigel the artist to the point where he was close to death. Jessica managed to unload some rounds in him, so hope was not lost.

Meanwhile the bug monkey ran up to Mark and swiped at him, missing both times. The pastor had new found confidence and tried to punch the monster which resulted in a critical failure and him getting fairly hurt. Mark shot the creature again, killing it, and as it melted back to it’s home dimension Mark yelled, “Welcome to Earth!”

With new resolve the pastor ran up to the corpse and punched him with his brass knuckles with better results as the corpse’s head caved in. Mark put another bullet in the head, then took the axe and cut the head off just to be sure (after using some first aid skills on the artist).

And thus ended the adventure. I still wouldn’t want to live in that house.

Oh and the knife pic came from here.