Stalkers and Explosions

Inside the Power Station, Cascata di Lares, Northern Italy, May 14th, 1940, 14:28

As the sound of running feet from below presaged another assault on the upper floor by the Nachtwölfe force, the agents siezed the momentary lull to prepare themselves. Anné remained emplaced behind some dead Italian soldiers at the top of the stairs, looking down over L'etranger's sights at the gruesome pile of dead Byakhee, scientist and soldiers. Cyril, stopping en route to pick up an Italian M91 rifle and some clips from the slain guard outside the office and took position at the rail along the side of the stairs.

Keeper Note: Critical roll from Steve to recognize a language that none of them know, but they have come increasingly into contact with....

Joe, likewise acquiring some extra firepower, handed a couple of his hand grenades around before heading to the east wall to set his breaching charge to create an escape hole. Cyril, Marcus and Gregory took one grenade each and started to peer down the stairs for targets. Birapeer returned to the room where the statue had been found, and began very cautiously to disconnect the equipment to which it had been connected from its' connections. As he did so, those around the stairs began to hear sounds of chanting from below, in a language no-one recognized - though Cyril in a flash of intution felt convinced it was connected to the three pages of the Libro Del Machina found at Gregoretti's house. Correctly guessing that this betrayed the casting of a spell, Marcus pulled the pin from his grenade and dropped it down the stairs. A succession of clangs and pings allowed them to track its' descent, then there was a pause, and then just on the edge of hearing a very faint splash as it dropped from the gantry into the river below, and a muffled thump as it exploded harmlessly beneath the water's surface. Cyril followed suit, but his grenade bounced off into the area on 'their' side of the river below and exploded well away from the Germans.


Nachtwölfe Stalker

At this point several things happened at once. Four soldiers in Nachtwölfe uniforms rounded the landing at a jog, heading up the stairs towards the defenders. The chanting rose to a crescendo and ended; and four hideous shapes erupted from the pool of gore, hatched from the lifeblood of slain humans, and came swarming up the steps towards the startled defenders. Terror rippled through those able to see this blasphemous spawning, and also the nature of the front pair of German soldiers - seven feet tall, inhumanly muscled, armoured with plates of strange metal on their torsos and with strange metal parts blended hideously with their living flesh, they stomped heavily forwards, snarling and hefting impossibly huge assault rifles which seemed to incorporate launchers for Panzerfaüst rockets. Each had an eye replaced with a brass-rimmed lens from which an all-too-familiar blue glow emanated, as it did from other parts of their bodies and places on their weapons.

The blood-spawned horrors, only six or eight inches high, seemed at first glance the less frightening, but the speed with which they bounded up the steps meant that they were by far the most immediate threat. Everyone opened up on them; Cyril and Marcus opened up with pistols, and rather to their surprise, each bullet that struck one of the little horrors dashed it to shreds. Fast and horrific they might be, but tough they were not.

This wasn't a fumble, as such, but a massively failed Throw, followed by two failed Luck checks, The only good news was that it didn't go the other way and get the entire party...

Then Gregory pulled this pin on the grenade that Marcus - in spite of Joe's firm warning not to - had given him, and tried to lob it over the rail towards the oncoming soldiers. He misjudged it completely and watched in horror as it bounced off the railing with a sharp clang and skittered across the floor into the corner against the upstream wall of the building. A moment later it exploded, hurling both Gregory and Marcus (on the other side of the stairwell) to the floor in a shower of blood. Bits of shrapnel also struck Cyril where he was leaning on the rail, but he was a little further away and this was to save several lives in the long run.

The last Bloodborn was scant inches from Anné when she shot it with L'etranger, the heavy bullet splattering it to a mist of blood and chitinous bits that sprayed across her face and hair. It took her several seconds of ragged breathing to get her reaction under control, only to face one of the two Stalkers lining its heavy weapon up on her. She flinched, and a loud grinding noise came from the weapon, followed by a spurt of pale-blue steam. Judging from the barely-human snarls of frustration, the weapon had jammed. The other Stalker unleashed a volley of heavy rounds at Joe, who hunkered down to avoid them as he finished setting his charge. Realizing her position was untenable, Anné abandoned it to spring across to the eastern control console and dive over it to better cover. There, she found Birapeer and his looted instrumentation.

Joe came haring over from where he'd set his charge to join them, spraying bursts of MP38 fire as he did so and dropping one of the human paratroopers. Flinching as a Stalker's heavy bullets ripped past him, Cyril dived to his knees next to the unconscious Gregory, ripping open the first-aid kit Section M had supplied and pulling out bandages and morphia. As he did so, he heard more casting from below but could not delay what he was doing. Marcus popped up, gritting his teeth at the pain of his wounds, and drew a bead on the Stalker with the jammed gun. He fired twice, and it toppled with an unnerving crash. Then Joe's charge went off, blasting a satisfyingly large hole in the eastern wall.

Birapeer headed for it, lugging his prize, and used the still-attached power cables to lower it down onto the roof outside. Anné, having reloaded her rifle, fired at the remaining Stalker and put a bullet cleanly though the implanted blue optic into whatever brain it still possesed, killing it immediately. Joe shot at the last paratrooper but the man ducked below the edge of the stairs and the bullets ricocheted away. This didn't remove him from Marcus' line of fire, however, and the professor winged him with a pistol shot. As he did so, he heard the chanting from downstairs peak and then trail off into gibbering, hysterical laughter.

In D&D, a Silence spell simply stops soundwaves moving. In Call of Cthulhu, it's a little more visceral than that...

As Cyril completed his patching up of young Gregory, he felt a strange sensation pass through him and was suddenly very cold. Then he felt an odd itching around his lips, which as he moistened them felt strangely gummy. A moment later utter terror gripped him as his very mouth healed over until it was completely sealed by smooth flesh! Scrabbling futilely at it, he thrashed for a few seconds until he discovered he could still breathe through his nose - but he was incapable of speech, eating or drinking! Whimpering slightly in terror, he reloaded his pistol and started transferring Gregory's significant possessions to his own pockets, in case the youth didn't recover.

Sturmbannfuhrer Steiger

At the stairs, two more Fallschirmjäger reached the top of the stairs, with a man in a German officer's uniform behind them. Tall and gaunt, with strangely withered features and burning, fanatical eyes, he wore both the rank tabs of a Sturmbannführer and the paw of Nachtwölfe. In his right hand he carried a P.08 Luger pistol, but this one was rather different to the standard. Panels along its' length glowed pale blue, and a faint wisp of blue steam arose from the foresight as he brought it up to the aim, seeking a target.

Kneeling next to Gregory, Cyril realized that he was completely exposed and went prone behind the youth's still form, silently apologizing to the boy as he did so. What with the German officer being partly down the stairs, his own posture and the cover of his "sandbag" he reckoned he was pretty safe. Which made it all the more shocking when the Major levelled his glowing Luger at him and fired, the bullets arcing impossibly past the cover he was behind to hit him anyway. One missed but the second drilled painfully into him. Adding this to his wounds from the grenade and his distress at his sealed mouth, it was not surprising that his return shot missed the German completely.

From the console, Birapeer put a bullet between the eyes of the last of the first four troopers, while Joe rapidly reloaded his SMG. Anné, having swapped to a pistol, got a couple of shots off and drew blood from Major Steiger, whose already apopleptic face became even more furious. He swung his glowing blue pistol to point at her, upon which she promptly shot him again. Looking around, he saw that he had only one paratrooper left and clearly reached a decision; whirling in a swirl of greatcoat, he hurried back down the stairs and around the corner out of sight. Joe bellowed "Überlassung sie!" at the top of his lungs, and after a moment's thought, the last trooper dropped his rifle. Joe grabbed him, tied him up and knocked him deeply unconscious.

Marcus rolled through the gap where the grenade had demolished the safety rail and dropped to the stairs below, groaning at the pain as the impact jolted the bits of shrapnel embedded in his body. He ducked so that he could see through into the turbine hall, and snapped a shot at the retreating Major as he and the last five paratroopers headed for the exit. His two bullets flew wide as the group disappeared through the exit at the far western end.


Above, Birapeer had grabbed one of the Stalker weapons. It was fantastically heavy, and he knew instantly that he wasn't strong enough to use it as a rifle - even if this hadn't been the one that was jammed. However, he searched briefly, found the secondary trigger, yelled a warning and launched the underslung Panzerfaust at the western wall of the upper level. It would have been quite hard to miss a wall, and he didn't. A small but adequate explosion blasted out a ragged hole and Birapeer, Joe and Anné ran to look out.

Sd.Kfz Hanomag Armoured Troop Carrier

Joe and Anné paused to synchronize their actions, but Birapeer turned away again, leaving this in their hands, and headed back along the upper level towards the eastern hole. the major and his five troopers were heading for a German Sd.Kfz 251 armoured car parked in the car park. Anné lined up on the Major and squeezed her trigger; the Nachtwölfe officer stumbled and then sprawled on his face. Despite Joe's repeated shouts of "Surrender!" the rest scattered, only one being brought down by Joe's SMG burst, and threw themselves into cover. Cyril ran up at this point carrying the second Stalker gun, and Joe took it and launched the Panzerfaust at the armoured car. The missile punched neatly through the light plating and into the vehicle before exploding and the vehicle dissolved in a bloom of flame.

Joe stood at the hole and looked down at the softly glowing Luger lying by the Major's outstretched, impossibly gaunt hand, his eyes glittering with avarice. When he moved forward, however, a burst of SMG fire rattled against the roof of the building and he reluctantly concluded that attempting to retrieve it was just too dangerous. Partially in pique, and partially in case the man - creature? - was shamming, he emptied an entire MP38 clip into the prone body, splattering gore and shreds of flesh in all directions. Turning, he headed back for the eastern hole, followed by the others.

Marcus had finally managed to get Gregory conscious, and helped him stagger towards the hole in the wall. As they went, Cyril snapped some last photographs of the Stalkers, and Anné wrenched the blue glowing eye from the head of the Stalker Marcus had killed.


When they reached the hole, it was to see the Fiat armoured heading off towards the gates, presumably with Birapeer at the wheel. Nothing loth, the agents scrambled down, across the roof of the turbine hall, down to the roof of the radio hut and across the car park to their hired car. As Cyril started the engine, Joe unclipped the MG38 from its' pintles on the motorbike's sidecar and lugged it into the car as he boarded. With a roar, the car set off down the road.

As it did, it occurred to Marcus that, a mile down the road, there was an Italian army checkpoint manned by two Regio soldiers who were probably beginning to wonder what had happened to their two comrades who'd "accompanied the visitors to the power station" but were now actually cooling corpses in the woods two bends up the road....

Session Date: 13th February 2018