Truck with Teeth

Playlist: A Shoggoth on the Roof - HP Lovecraft Historical Society
Keeper Note: Ric was able to make it tonight, so Marcus just appears mid-way through the story. Well, it's CoC. Also, with Jimmy splattered across the track several miles back, Arthur is now playing Maria Verletti.

Near Canova, Northern Italy, 18th February 1941 02:15

With caution, the team had a good look around the truck before advancing further. Anné crawled along the roof, checking again with the statue the location of the - a - piece of the Palladion roughly in the centre of the truck. Roughly at the same time, she and Birapeer noticed a slender bundle of electrical or telephone wires, running between the truck and the one further towards the engine.

Between them, the two rigged a grenade with some of Jake's marbles wrapped around it on the step at the back of the truck, using Jake's Lard to grease the step for good measure. Then Yorkshire Charlie shinned down the far side of the truck and slipped the coupling. Birapeer flattened himself to the truck roof, Bren resting on its bipod and pointed at the door of the truck ahead. Slowly the truck they rode fell back, the mysterious cables tightening until they separated with a distant ping.


The result was almost immediate. The door in the receding truck at the back of the now rather shortened train slammed open, and a huge figure in the grey uniform of Nachtwölfe stepped into view. Those who had fought them before drew in a short breath - it was a Stalker, a hideous cyborg, once a man, now a blasphemous blend of machinery, Atlantean crystal technology and human flesh.

As it glared into the darkness, trying to decide if it could make the leap to the unfastened truck, the grenade exploded. Shrapnel ripped through it, though to the watchers it appeared as if more of it was deflected by the creature's strange armour than in prior encounters. The grenade also blasted big pieces out of the back of the truck, including the area the stalker was standing on. The lard was rather redundant as the Stalker and its footing toppled outwards towards the blurring rails below. Not wanting to take any chances, Birapeer hammered a full burst of thirty rounds from his Bren into the falling shape, noticing as the bullets tore through that flashes and sparkles of an all-too-familiar blue light marked their contact with the armour. With a heavy crash the Stalker struck the tracks, and began to bounce along the track. Then their own truck hit it, smashing it down and snatching it from sight. Joe and Jake, watching the rear doors of their truck, saw it appear from underneath, sprawled unmoving.

Relieved breaths were distinctly premature, however, as two more of the once-human soldiers appeared in the ragged hole where the door and rear of the truck had been. Anné took a shot with l'Etranger and shook her head as the bullet caromed off into the night. Then the Stalkers opened fire.

They didn't have a lot of target to aim for, but a faint silhouette of Birapeer's head and shoulders was enough. Their oversized assault weapons coughed and the heavy rounds tore into the rear and roof of their truck. Birapeer felt a heavy blow, and looking down saw his own blood leaking out onto the wooden roof. Gritting his teeth, he returned fire, spreading the burst between his targets and saw another go down. The remaining one fired again, but the ever-increasing distance was enough to make it too difficult a shot. Birapeer fired again, knocking it back into the truck as it was swallowed by darkness and distance. Gasping in pain, he slumped over his weapon as Charlie reached him and unpacked his medical kit, preparing to bandage the wounds.

1940's Advert for Lard

Meanwhile, at the other end of the truck, Jake clambered down and repeated his trick of greasing the step of the rear door with lard. As he did so, Joe and Maria picked up the sound of footsteps moving below them, some heavier than others. At the other end of the truck, as he winced through Charlie's rather basic medical attentions, Birapeer, his head close to the truck roof, could hear a sound best described as slithering. He also thought he heard a brief, truncated human shriek of agony.

After several more minutes of deceleration, the truck finally trundled to a halt, alone in the darkness. Peering left and right, the team observed that the track here was running through a slight cutting, maybe 20' deep, with broken ground and stunted trees scattered around beyond. Ahead, they could hear the distinctive sound of a train braking hard. "They'll be back," said Charlie darkly.

Keeper Note: I'll describe directions vis a vis the truck as "forward" ie the direction of original travel and "left/right" as for one standing on it facing forward. It's also noticable that now she's being played by Arthur, Maria's choices seem to have magically started becoming disastrous....

Joe and Anné scrambled off the truck and up the embankment on the right to dig in and provide cover. Then Joe, still in his Wehrmacht uniform, called out in his best parade-ground voice. "Gehen Sie von Bord und werfen Sie Ihre Waffen nieder. Ihr Leben wird geschont!"

Almost without any delay, a bolt of red energy tore out through the side of the truck, at the top edge, blasting a hole almost six inches across, and blasted a small crater in the embankment ten feet or so from Joe. Atop the truck, Maria unhooked a grenade and, lying prone, scrambled downwards towards the hole. Unfortunately, her grip slipped and she fell to dangle from the rope tether just above the hole. As she'd already pulled the pin, she desperately bundled the bomb in through the opening. As she did so, she felt ... something ... clawing at her mind. Unreasoning fear was overwhelming her, flooding her mind and blocking all her thoughts. For a moment all she could do was hang there and whimper. Then the grenade went off, blowing several holes in the roof of the truck and slightly wounding Jake and Charlie with flying shrapnel.

Bren gun with 100-round magazine

From up the hill, Joe unleashed a barrage of sixty rounds of Brenfire, raking along the truck from end to end. For a moment, the only result was silence, and then the side door started to slide back before coming completely off and falling to the gravel below.

A Canon of the Black Sun

Visible in the opening were two more Stalkers, with a third figure further forward and deeper in the truck. Those who'd survived the battle at the Hill over Marabin recognized it as a Black Sun Canon - a skilled spellcaster. The two Stalkers sprang out and started heading up the slope, one in the direction the fire had come, the other straight forwards as Anné had not yet opened fire or revealed her position.

Voorish Sign

Everyone except the wounded Birapeer clambered quickly down the ropes still attached to the back of the truck and backed off down the tracks; because they had seen the Sikh start packing grenades into a bag to make a satchel charge. Marcus made the Voorish Sign and staggered, aghast. Huge flows of magical energy were coiling in and out of the truck like smoke, there was a glittering pentagram under the feet of its' occupants, and something immensely unnatural lurked inside.

His drum empty, Joe slithered back from the embankment, swapping it for a regular magazine as he went. He glanced around, looking for a new place to dig in, and crawled backwards towards it. He was nowhere near, however, when the Stalker's massive form stomped up into view at the top of the embankment.

His bomb complete, Birapeer dropped a pinless grenade into the bag, gripped it by its strap and swung in in a neat arc over the lip of the truck roof and in through the doorway. He could have sworn he heard a soft squelch as it landed, but didn't hang around to find out. Rolling over, he slid down the far side of the truck and - catching his fall briefly by gripping the roof - dropped to the ground on the other side. Despite the agony of his wounds, he executed a manouvre that managed to be just a parachute roll rather than a crumple and ended up flat on his face at the edge of the slope.

The explosion was mind-numbing. The sides and ends of the truck were blown outwards and the remains of the roof disappeared into the night. Ragged remnants of the sides, a foot or so high, made a border around the revealed interior. The Canon and another Stalker were smeared across the distorted remnants of vertical bars that had once closed off the forward 6' of the truck into a kind of cage; a similar one appeared to have already been destroyed at the other end. The pentagram previously observed was slowly dimming, ripped in several places. The most monstrous horror, however, waited within the pentagram.


In the very centre was a small wooden crate, surrounded by a border of clear space. Lapping around that, occupying the rest of the pentagram and just beginning to flow out over the sides was - what? It defied description. Amorphous, never still, never consistent; its' shape changing from moment to moment. Gelatinous, coated in some glistening slime, it flowed rapidly towards the rear edge of the truck. Semi-formed shapes appeared and disappeared from moment to moment; hands, claws, tentacles - and eyes. It had eyes everywhere, constantly vanishing and reforming all across its bulk. An overwhelming terror seemed to flow from it, and several of the team tottered on the edge of sanity. Poor Maria, brave in the fight against the Fascists who'd taken over her country but completely unprepared for the supernatural, froze in place, stupefied in horror and shock.

Shaking off the effects, Charlie levelled his Sten gun at the Stalker advancing on Anné's position and fired a burst, shaking his head as it appeared to have only the most minimal effect. Likewise despairing of damaging it with gunfire, Anné found her attention drawn to the two Panzerfaust rockets sticking up over the creature's shoulder. Taking very careful aim, she fired a single round at the bulbous head of one of the rockets. The bullet struck, and the bomb exploded with a roar, stunning the thing.

Keeper Note: With Maria permanently insane and suffering Stupefaction (though no-one knows this and no-one thought to check), Arthur has now taken over Charlie!.

Only - if such a word can ever be used of such a thing - the Shoggoth remained to defend the crate. Freed from the pentagram the Canons had been maintaining, the hideous thing began to flow over the back of the truck towards the largest group of humans. "Eee, " said Charlie contemptuously, "you're even uglier than't missus!" He opened fire on it and saw the bullets tear into it; but they looked rather to be pushing pieces of it aside on the way through rather than inflicting damage. As he watched, the wounds began to close.

Joe, frantically scrambling his fresh magazine into place, swung his Bren up and emptied it into the Stalker as it prepared to fire. He was totally exposed and prone to boot, so failure was not an option. The cyborg toppled, twitched and lay still.

Marcus flipped a grenade onto the top of the Shoggoth and watched it begin to sink in, then explode - again, disturbing the integument without inflicting actual injury. It continued to flow forwards and as it reached the ground and flowed forwards, it dawned on those watching that it was moving faster than a man could run. Charlie threw himself sideways as his skin began to melt and slough off, rolling out of its immediate path. The other scattered like mice, running in every direction, the aeons-old instincts of primitive monkey ancestors driving them to ensure the predator couldn't reach everyone at once. All except Maria. Staring sightlessly into nowhere, she remained where she'd been standing as the Shoggoth rolled up to, over, and around her, engulfing her in its semi-transparent mass.

Jack's Stuff

Jake tore open his pack and hefted a bottle of bootleg whiskey, sighed briefly, then smashed it in the thing's path. Marcus whipped out Jack's Stuff, given to them nearly a year ago and seldom remembered, and struck one of the inextinguishable matches. As it flared, he flung it into the pool of whiskey and backed away. The spirit flared into flames - and burned away a small piece of the Shoggoth! "Fire!" cried the professor, "kill it with fire!"

Meanwhile, Birapeer popped his head up over the ruined side of the truck. Catching sight of the Shoggoth he blanched, but then he noticed the crate, sitting forsaken in the middle of the truck floor from whence the Shoggoth had departed. Grinning despite the pain, he scrambled up the side of the truck and over to the box.

RIP Maria Verletti. This marks (possibly) Arthur's second character death in two sessions, not unusual for a Chappie game but definitely remarkable for one of mine!.

As the horrified team watched, Maria's form disintegrated as the pressures of the creature's form ruptured, crushed and sucked her to pieces. Moments later, all that remained was red streaks in the greenish mass of the being.

Joe crested the rise again in time to see this, and shivered in horror, then - like Birapeer - noticed their objective sitting unremarked in the remains of the truck. Reloading, he began to jog downhill towards it, noting Anné packing grenades into a satchel in a probably futile attempt to create a charge to throw at it. As he reached the truck, Charlie scrambled aboard from the back end, having gone right around the Shoggoth. As they did so, they heard Jake's wild voice screaming "Come on then! Come and have a go if you think you're, erm, hard enough!" at the monster. There was no sign that it heard or understood except that it turned towards him. He blinked and backed hastily away.

On the truck, Birapeer had kicked the crate to bits and he and Joe stared down at the contents. In a jumble of straw packing was a domed shape of red metal - Orichalum, the Metal Red Like Blood of Atlantis - almost certainly the Clypeus shield. Birapeer grabbed it, spun, and scrambled off the truck on the left side before running off into the night. Joe spun, struck by a thought, and grabbed a handful of silver bullets from a pouch, starting to add them to the top of his MP40's magazine.

Keeper Note: Jake has a tendency for "backstab" shotgun attacks - see here for another example.

Jake came up behind the stunned Stalker which had been heading for Anne, levelled his shotgun and gave it both barrels. Armour weakened by the Panzerfaust explosion, it was riddled and dropped dead on the spot.

Similarly struck by an inspiration, Marcus pulled out the Mi-Go light globe, and lobbed it gently onto the Shoggoth's mass as Joe let rip with his silver rounds - which ripped four smoking holes in the gelatinous mass. The globe, partially eaten away by the Shoggoth's acid, erupted in an enormous explosion, tearing a hole in the thing. Marcus dug out a second globe and repeated his throw, and Joe fired again. Once more, the globe exploded in a massive blast. Bits of Shoggoth went hurtling in all directions, splattering to the ground and onto the truck.

Marcus quietly dug out a glass seeming jar and scooped up a tiny, twitching fragment before pocketing it.

In the sudden silence, everyone could hear the distinctive sound of an approaching train. Glancing at each other to check everyone was all right - and, sadly, for a moment at where Maria had been - the team loped off after Birapeer in the direction of the rendezvous village.

Session Date: 10th December 2019