Interpret This! #3
TYPE: Gas Light Horror
SETTING: Arkham Horror
SETUP: The dripping wax entranced Shamus as it formed a pool at the base of the candelabra. The pile of solidifying liquid morphed with each drop. Its intoxicating dance of patterns was alluring. His mind wandered to the grandfather clock in the corner, it's pendulum ticking a rhythmic, hypnotic tone. The oscillation of the ticks reminded him of the pulse coming from the rift that he and his companions had been called upon to investigate under the old church.
Abruptly his focus was broken with a sudden crash from a pile of books tumbling to the library floor, an action which drew the angry hushes of several nearby scholars. The librarian responsible for the interruption fumbled with the books to prevent more of them falling onto the polished black and brown tiles. She smiled at Shamus from across the room in a kind of unspoken apology, to which he nodded in polite acknowledgement. Shamus stared at her face for a moment. There was something about her that was familiar, something that he could not put a finger on.
The young man shook his head. “Focus”, he thought. It was late, and Shamus hadn’t slept in 48 hours, but he had a responsibility to his companions Abarrane and Terrence who were elsewhere, tracking the whereabouts of the cultists they had encountered several days before. He had been sifting through ancient manuscripts for hours with no end in sight. He was lucky to have access to the library, a benefit he had gained from his late Uncle’s contribution to the expansion of the western wing.
Ranbir, the young Indian boy Shamus had rescued back in Cairo three months earlier, approached him from the library stacks to his left. “This is the last book I could find Mister Tash”, the boy chimed as he gently placed a voluminous Tome on the table. “It has a nasty looking cover, see? That eye in the middle there, I’m sure it winked at me”.
The boy smiled like a cat presenting a kill to its master. The young lad had agreed to become Shamus’ student rather than face the consequences of his actions at the crypt Pharaoh Khafre Shamus, and had become quite useful in Shamus’ studies.
Shamus smiled at the child and turned his attention to the book. The Voynich Manuscript. He had heard of it before, its contents filled with unusual pictures and in a language he had never seen before. This was his last hope, and his friends who were likely already on their way back from Croagh Patrick’s Chapel to collect him, were depending on his success.
SKILLS: Shamus is a Mythos investigator and has been tasked with finding a ritual capable of sealing the rift between the darkest planes of the Hellmouth and the natural world. Shamus has an Intellect of 3, and a Knowledge (Occult) (Int) of 2. Although not qualified, Ranbir has been assisting Shamus in his research and provides Shamus with a single Boost die. Shamus also has 1 rank in the Tier 2 talent, Book Worm, which grants him 2 Boost die to any Knowledge check made within a library. Shamus has no Story Points currently after his associates’ encounter with the cultists, but due to his Uncle’s contribution to the library (a fact established earlier in the adventure), provides an Upgrade to his skill check. The final skill dice pool is:
DIFFICULTY: The topic Shamus is researching is obscure and the GM determines the difficulty of the check is going to be Hard. Shamus has been at it all night, and due to a lack of sleep, the GM adds 2 Setback dice to the pool. The narrative has offered the GM the opportunity to add an additional Setback die for Shamus’ sudden fascination with the librarian who continues to stare over at him while she reassembles the stack of fallen books. The GM automatically upgrades the check since the text in the book his associate has brought him is unintelligible (the upgrade coming from a previous Despair). The GM flips a Story Point and upgrades the check again, explaining that 48 hours is the longest Shamus has ever stayed awake and fatigue is affecting his ability to focus on the task at hand. Shamus’ player explains that his character has worked under worse conditions in the past and declares his use of the Tier 1 talent, Knack for It, which allows him to remove 2 Setback dice from any Knowledge (Occult) checks he makes. The final Difficulty Dice Pool is:
Shamus’ player makes the check and rolls the following result:
So listeners...Interpret This!