The Terror in the Woods

Episode 9: The Terror in the Woods

Burglars broke in to the Metropolitan Museum of Art intent on stealing a number of artifacts related to the Egyptian goddess Isis. The Wardens stopped them, killing all but one of the would-be thieves.

Greystone interviewed the sole survivor, Andre Bellard, who fell in and out of coherence. He ranted about a “Golden Doe”, the “Tears of Isis”, and “Horned Master” (aka the Chevron, aka Ba-neb-djedet). From him they learned that he and the other thieves were worshippers of this “Chevron” figure, and they the rest of the cult lived in a tenement on the extreme northern end of Manhattan.

Meanwhile, follow up investigations by the Wardens at the Metropolitan Museum revealed that the were several possible abductions from the museum the night of the gala. All involved young men and women who moved in New York’s high society circles, and all were former friends of Warden Alistair Sebastian Cadwalader Martindrake III.

They followed up on the cult of “Ba-neb-djedet”, heading to the tenement they’d turned into a lair. They fought the cultists, who were led by The Buck, a deranged individual who clearly considered himself an aspect of Ba of the Lord of Djedet,

The Buck was killed outright as were several other cultists, but a few others were merely knocked unconscious. These were left bound on the third floor for the police to find. The fight was not without casualties on the Warden’s side: Rikard Greystone was badly wounded in the fight, and dropped into unconsciousness.  The Warden’s bound the incapacitated cultists, retrieved the Buck’s sword, and then retreated from the tenement, warning the inhabitants not to enter the third floor as they left. They then headed immediately to the nearest hospital so that Greystone could be treated for his grievous wounds. Once there, they sent word to the police about what they’d found in the tenement, and asked that a squad be dispatched to secure the cultists…

Chatting with the Police

Rikard was patched up in the ER and given a hospital room of his own, where he, McGinnis, and Andrew Buchanan huddled and attempted to figure out what to do next. They were soon joined by Det. Jason Carl Carlson, the assistant detective on the Metropolitan Museum of Art case. The three Wardens explained what had happened earlier that night: the cultists, their deranged leader the Buck, and the cruel-looking sword that caused Rikard’s wounds.

“So what you’re telling me is that a bunch of sex-crazed, drug addicted crazies broke into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in order to steal Egyptian fertility relics to impress Catherine Livingstone, a young woman who is one of the top socialites in the city and whom they may or may not have kidnapped to serve as their goddess?” Carlson asked in disbelief.

“Yes,” Rikard responded.

“Tell me, do you think these things through before you say them aloud?” Carlson replied.

“Yes,” Rikard replied. “I’m afraid it’s all true.”

Carlson could see he was telling the truth. “Alright, I’ll send over some men to check it out. We’ll see what’s up with these twits and take them into custody. We’ll keep things quiet … the last thing we need to worry about is word getting out about a bunch of freaked-out goat worshippers. Goat worshippers … ” Carlson shook his head.

“Besides, we’ve got other problems. Something very strange was happening in the museum the night of the gala. We’ve got evidence of several possible attacks, and a couple of missing kids who haven’t shown up yet. It’s early, so maybe it’ll shake out, but …”

J. Carl Carlson and the Wardens then reviewed the evidence: In one of the side rooms in the Central American exhibit they found evidence of two attacks:

  • A dropped hairpin with dried blood on it, and is coated with some sort of sticky material.
  • A broken statue depicting the Mayan god of agriculture. There is dried blood and hair along one of the broken edges.

In a corner of the gala hall, they found a discarded handkerchief that smelled faintly of the sweet antiseptic sent of chloroform. There were also scuff marks on the floor indicating that someone may have been dragged from the room.

In a women’s bathroom they found a broken mirror, with bits of blood on the edges of the glass. The Wardens remembered that the Livingstone sisters, Catherine and her younger sibling Elizabeth, had left to powder their noses in that bathroom earlier in the evening.

They also recalled the fight between the Brockholst brothers which had happened on one of the trails outside the museum and ended with blood on the paving stones. They also reviewed the scuff marks that suggested several people had been dragged from the museum to waiting cars.

The Break-In

Andrew does some research on the Livingstones, learns that the Livingstones have prospered surprisingly well during the depression, and are new rich. Laurence Livingstone is the patriarch, and he’s been throwing grand galas trying to attract the attention of the Hursts and Rockefellers.

New Warden (and thoroughly sneaky) Andrew Buchanan heads over to the Livingstone’s high-rise apartment in midtown Manhattan. He  breaks into the Livingstone’s building, sneaks up stairs. He overhears a hysterical women crying about her children, and a man replying “they’ll be fine, the girls will be fine”.

After the woman withdraws to the bedroom, the man — presumably Laurence Livingstone — heads to his study. There he gets on the phone with someone  he calls “Slaughter” and begins cursing. “You said this deal would make me rich. Damn it, you better show results, and soon.” There was silence as Slaughter responded, then Livingstone — apparently mollified — responded “Heh, yeah, that’s why we had two of them. Ah Slaughter, you’re going to make me rich … and hell, I can always have more kids.”

The next day, the Wardens followed up on their leads, in particular those involving Oscar Slaughter. Greystone learns that Slaughter is an entrepreneur and maverick businessman who emerged from nowhere shortly after the stock market crash in ’29. He’s made incredibly risky gambles on the stock market during the Depression and unlike many, his gambits actually paid off. He used his new-found wealth to buy out enemies and snatch up treasures that others were selling at rock-bottom prices because of economic malaise. One of these treasures was the Pleasant Grove Resort, a formerly public resort in the Catskills that was popular in the early 1920s, but fell on hard time during the Depression. Slaughter bought the resort, and took it private, apparently making it a vacation getaway for his closest friends and associates.

They confirmed that he had a daughter, Francesca Slaughter, who was 16 years old. With this evidence in hand, the Wardens decide the time has come for a trip to upstate New York.

Unpleasant Grove

The Queenston General Gas Station. Owned by Old Man Gilmore.
The Queenston General Gas Station. Owned by Old Man Gilmore.

The Wardens travelled north, and after a half-days hard journey on country backgrounds that wound through the Catskills, they arrived on the outskirts of Queenston. There they found the Queenston General Gas Station, owned by an ancient-looking individual who introduced himself as “Gilmore”.

They asked him some questions about the Pleasant Grove Resort, to which the old man replied by spitting, cursing, and mentioning that the people up there were a queer story of folk who kept to themselves, never spent any money in town, and were downright anti-social. Also, something damn strange had happened up there the night before — it sounded like every firework in the state had gone off, and there were weird green and purple lights in the sky above the camp. There was also laughter, screaming, and general carrying on until the wee hours of the morning, but it had been quite for the last day or so.

Forewarned, the Wardens headed to Pleasant Grove. They found a wrought-iron gate surrounding the complex, and caught glimpses of various resort buildings. Making their way past the gate, they saw the that resort had been decimated.

The lake at the resort’s center had been boiled away, leaving nothing but steam and mud. The buildings they’d seen were in ruins : cabins were reduced to tinder, the grand hall — once used for dining and dancing — had collapses, and cars had been tossed aside like toys. Closer to the lake they found a six teenagers who’d been bound with rope on a platform near the lake. The platform was now shattered, and the teenagers’ bodies had been broken by some great mass, but it was clear that they’d been dead before that happened — every one of them had had their throats cut.

Those who had committed this heinous crime lay dead around the collapsed platform, their bodies torn to pieces and scattered by the lake. It was clear that something tremendously strong — and likely tremendously large as well — had done this. They found hoofed tracks, even larger than those of an elephant, all around the platform. The tracks led off into the surrounding forest, which had its own unsettling implications.

Strange purple and green lights, dimmed almost to an afterglow, played at the center of the lake. As the heroes watched, they winked out.

Pleasant Lake
Pleasant Lake, at the center of the Pleasant Grove resort, before it was boiled away during a summoning ritual gone horribly wrong. Source.

There was only one survivor, and they recognized him immediately from their research: Oscar Slaughter. The man sat naked, jibbering to himself, by the lake’s edge. A foot-long, black wood rod, it’s head capped with a stylized, ruby-eyed goat head, lay broken at his feet. Slaughter muttered something about “the broken Rod of Nastorus“, then fell into incoherence.

After moment’s reflection, lucidity (or something like it) returned. “A blessing. She said she would send a blessing. And we are blessed! We are all one with the Black Goat of the Woods! Shub-Niggurath! Shub-Niggurath!”

The Wardens looked at each other, their unease growing into something just short of terror.  And then they heard the terror in the woods.

Apocalypse, New York

The monstrosity that came out of the woods towered 40 feet above the ground, and knocked over trees and small cabins as it circled back toward the now-steaming Pleasant Lake. The creature made of a storm of tentacles extending from a trunk-like body, which in turn was powered forward by tree-like legs that ended in hoofed feet. The heroes watched helplessly as the  thing charged towards them, but then they leapt into action, grabbing Slaughter and dragging him along with them.

As the beast charged them, the Wardens ran to their car, quickly grabbed their weapons and an all-important case of dynamite, and prepared to stand their ground. They shot the creature with their guns, but their combined firepower wasn’t enough enough to distract the thing, let alone stagger it.

Rikard Greystone, deciding valor was the better part of wisdom, decided to use their car as a weapon. After a quick conference with the underhanded Andrew Buchanan, the once and future thief jury-rigged a dynamite bomb and tossed it into the vehicle.

He and the mercenary McGinnis watched as Greystone drove it at the beast, jumping from the car at the last moment and rolling into a ditch. The vehicle struck the horror, and then exploded. The monster was shrouded in fireball, but a few moments later it was clear that the inferno hadn’t phased their enemy.

Meanwhile, Oscar Slaughter had been weeping with happiness at the return of the terror that he and his people had summoned. “Embrace me, oh Dark Goat of the Woods! Embrace me, so that I might know your unending love!”

The Wardens got another idea. They lit another dynamite fuse, then handed it to Oscar, fast-talking him into thinking it was an offering for his god. The mad man then ran forward to embrace the monster, which grabbed him with a tentacle, hefted him into the air … and swallowed him.

The ensuing explosion was muffled and one again did little to stop the monster. It continued its rampage, lashing out at nearby buildings and stalking after the Wardens.

They ran.

With much of the resort in ruins, and their vehicle smashed, the Wardens ran toward the center of the resort. One their way they noticed the overhead electrical lines, and realized that few lights were still flickering. That meant power … and that gave Rikard another idea. He and the others followed the electrical lines, taking the occasional potshot at the monster to keep it on their tail.

The electrical lines led to what they’d hoped for … a shed with an electrical generator and a stash of gasoline containers. They splashed the gasoline around the shed, then Rikard lured the monster toward it while the others fled. The creature took the bait, power lines snapping around it as it lunged toward its prey.  Rikard evaded it at the last moment, and ran as the infuriated monster tore the shed apart to get at him.

The beast, apparently none too smart, ate the generator. Sparks rippled around it, igniting the gas fumes and sending up yet another fireball. The creature was staggered badly by the explosion, and for a moment — a fleeting, hope-filled moment — the Wardens thought they had it.

And then it began chasing them again.

The Wardens ran. They found an abandoned car that hadn’t been damaged by the rampage, pilled in, and fled the monster behind them.

They were going to need bigger guns.


  • Feature photo credit: I’m trying to find the correct attribution for this image; thus far the Internet has failed me. If anyone knows the origin of the image, please post a comment or email us at scribe@griffcrier.comSource.
  • Game date: June 1, 2014


  • McGinnis: 3 xp
  • Rikard: 3 xp
  • Andrew: 3 xp