Seeking to gain ever greater boons from their dark goddess, a fertility cult tried to summon and bind one of her servants at the Pleasant Grove Resort in Queenston, New York. Instead, they unleashed a horror upon the Catskills that saw the entire cult killed and left their leader, the tycoon and cultist Oscar Slaughter, a babbling madman.
The Wardens — Andrew Buchanan, Rikard Greystone, and McGinnis — arrived too late to stop the ritual and to save the half-dozen odd teenagers sacrificed as part of it. Instead they were left to deal the monstrosity the cult had summoned: a tentacled, hoover monster that loomed over the trees and destroyed all it came in contact with. They attempted to kill it with explosives and electricity, but failed on both accounts.
So they ran, scrambling to buy time and figure out a new plan for stopping the beast before it could rampage through the rest of New York state.
They headed back to the Queenston, NY gas station in their stolen car (though is it really theft when the owners were cultists who summoned their own death in the form of a tentacled monstrosity?) There they met Alistair Sebastian Cadwalader Martindrake III, a fellow Warden, in his rocket motorcycle, as well as August Farnstaff, who was riding in the bike’s sidecar.
McGinnis immediately began recounting at the top of his lungs what had happened at Pleasant Grove, franticly warning the new arrivals that something horrible was about to come down the lane. The yelling drew the attention of Old Man Gilmore, the gas station’s owner, who came out with a shotgun and demanded that everyone stop interrupting his sleep.
They quickly came up with a plan, and it required a lot more explosives.
The Big Bang Theory
Alistair Sebastian Cadwalader Martindrake III and August Farnstaff rocketed off on Martindrake’s motorcycle to meet with one of the millionaire’s local contacts. The young man had just remembered that the Dutch explorer and fellow true Atlanean believer Arjan Van Rader was in the area looking for a passage to the Hollow Earth (while going on the occasional side quest for a fabled and long lost Dutch silver mine). Van Rader’s explorations required a large amount of dynamite, which Martindrake was sure his friend would let him borrow … especially once he saw the growing forest fire ignited at Pleasant Grove, and the horrible, tentacled menace it backlit.
Meanwhile Andrew Buchanan and McGinnis recalled that there was a New York Guard armory only a mile or two out of town. They took their liberated car and headed off town with Rikard Greystone. That’s when they realized that Old Man Gilmore was foolishly standing his ground as the horror charged towards him. McGinnis gunned his engine, sent the car into a spin, then raced back toward the gas station. There he threw the car into another spin and began firing at the beast while Greystone leaped clear of the car. He ran to the old man and brow beat him into falling back to the vehicle. “Someone has to wake up the town!” Greystone shouted.
Gilmore, finally seeing something like sense, agreed. “That’s right. We knew a war was coming. We thought it was going to be the Fascists or the Communists, but by God it was the Martians!”
The old man ran back to the car, which then sped off toward town. The monster charged after it, ignoring Greystone entirely. The former cop knew he had to do something about that, so he tied a rag to his boomerang, soaked it with gas from one of the pumps, ignited it and hurled it after the monster. The creature ignored him again.
Realizing he needed something that packed a bit more of a punch, Greystone looked for and found a vehicle: an old 1925 Ford 1-ton truck parked at the gas station. He jammed the push button ignition and then raced after the monster.
He slammed the vehicle into the Terror From the Woods, leaping clear at the last minute. The impact knocked the monster sideways, causing it to flail its tentacles madly, but did not seem to harm it.
Raising Hell, Fighting Martians
Meanwhile, in town McGinnis and Buchanan dropped off Old Man Gilmore, who fired two blasts of his shotgun into the air and began rallying the town. “Get up, you lazy bastards. The war’s here, and we’re not letting those damn Martians take Queenston!”
The town’s groggy inhabitants began to pour into the streets, and any objections they might have were immediately nullified by the sight of the inferno on the outskirts of town, and the tower of tentacles that Greystone was fighting.
Satisfied that Gilmore was doing everything he could to rally the troops, McGinnis and Buchanan raced out of town to the Capstone Armory. Once there they ran into its lone guard, a tired looking man who paused from reading his book to let the two Wardens know that the base was closed. McGinnis tried to reason that they needed access to the armory to deal with the threat in town, but the guard balked. Knowing that time was of the essence, Buchanan bypassed all arguments by coldcocking the guard with the butt of his gun. McGinnis immediately set about hitching a 75 mm howitzer to one of the armory’s transport trucks, while Buchanan used the keys he’d taken from the guard to open up the armory proper and began looting armory shells.
Rocket Bike Out of Hell
As Buchanan and McGinnis raided the armory, Martindrake and August Farnstaff rocketed down country roads, the former driving with a maniac grin on his face, and the latter praying that the sidecar wouldn’t split from the motorcycle and send him into another county.
After a harrowing ride up a switchbacked mountain road, they arrived at the camp of Arjan Van Rader. Van Rader was happy to his his old friend Martindrake, and was about to launch into a lengthy explanation of his latest theory about the “sinking” of Atlantis (being that it didn’t sink; rather it phased through the Earth until it reached the planet’s Hollow Center, where it founded a new empire) when Martindrake interrupted him: “A crazy cult summoned a tentacled monster. We need your help, and your dynamite, to kill it.”
Van Rader blinked momentarily, took in the fire spreading on the horizon, saw tentacled shadows fall across one of the buildings in Queenston, and simply said. “Of course.”
Together they began loading dynamite into Van Rader’s truck. Farnstaff, amazed that this was all going so well, used his arcane sight to see if there were any mystical threats around. He caught a glimpse of a divining rod tucked in Van Rader’s back pocket which glowed with an unexpected faint purple light. Seeing that the man was distracted, Farnstaff liberated the rod and secreted it away within his coat.
Once the TNT was secured, the three men caravanned back into town.
The Wardens converged back in town with their combined firepower. First up was Martindrake, who worked with Van Rader and Buchanan to load the sidecar of his motorcycle with dynamite. He then drove the bike directly at the beast.
Greystone, who had been trying to distract the beast the entire time the others were gathering supplies, noticed the motorcycle at the last minute and dived into a nearby drainage ditch. Martindrake, having rigged the bike to continue to accelerate on its own, jumped clear of the bike. He watched from what he hoped was a safe distance as the vehicle rammed into the cyclopean terror and exploded.
The blast was far more than he’d hoped for. The Terror suddenly disappeared as it was consumed by a 50-foot diameter fireball. The shockwave from the explosion knocked Martindrake of his feet, and shattered every glass window in the town. Greystone, who knew something was coming, but not what, felt himself pressed flat by the explosion. When he looked up, the monster had been replaced by a gigantic dust cloud. The cloud was filled with shadows as the few surviving street lamps and the distant forest fire illuminated it.
Martindrake scrambled to his feet, deafened by the blast but sure that the explosion had done it’s job and killed the beast.
Then he saw the first tentacle probing beyond the dust cloud, and knew that it hadn’t. The thing was still alive. And it was coming for him.
Farnstaff decided to take stealthier approach. As Martindrake sped off on his bike, Farnstaff made his way around to the rear of the buildings on the main street and began sneaking towards the monster. As he did so, he used his arcane sight to determine if there were any magical ley lines he might be able to use to augment his spells. He discovered that the lines were there, but rather than a vibrant cerulean blue, they were a feeble, barely visible purple afterglow. The lines ran to the outskirts of town, where they appeared to converge where the Wardens said Pleasant Grove Resort used to be. Glancing in that direction he could sense a great and terrible wound in the nature of space and time. The wound had only just healed, but he sensed he might — just might — be able to re-open it. If it came to that.
Farnstaff watched the explosion from several houses away, and felt the glass from second floor windows rain down on him. When he saw Martindrake knocked off his feet, and the horror rising from the crater left by the explosion, the mystic knew it was time to act.
He advanced on the beast, and sent an arcane bolt streaking toward it. The bolt shocked the creature in away that the various explosions had not. Sensing the true threat, the creature advanced on Farnstaff.
At the outskirts of town, the rest of the Wardens were preparing to rain strange thunder down upon the monster. Buchanan and McGinnis loaded a shell into the howitzer, sighted the weapon as best they could, and fired at the Terror. The creature staggered backwards, temporarily halting its advance on Farnstaff, but the creature was otherwise uninjured.
Martindrake struggled back to the big gun and made it just as the beast once again advanced and snagged Farnstaff with a tentacle. It tried to devour the Warden, but Farnstaff wiggled free just in time and jumped to a nearby porch roof.
Martindrake, realizing that convention explosives — even a lot of conventional explosives — would not work against the immense creature, decided to try something more magical. He worked a smite spell and laid its magics down upon three artillery shells. He did the same to the bullet clip for his rifle.
And then Buchanan and McGinnis opened fire. The shells, radiating with a faint silver light, struck the beast and this time it felt the impact. Farnstaff unleashed his own bolt spell as well, while Martindrake fired his rifle.
The beast reeled, it’s tentacles lashing out and crushing nearby buildings. It could do nothing to stop the barrage, and odd, purplish gore began to leak from multiple wounds. It was the Atlanean aficionado Martindrake who got in the killing shot, striking the beast in one its pie-sized eyes.
The monster collapse, and its otherworldly flesh began to dissolve into a noxious gas. A tired cheer went up from the Wardens and a few of the stunned town folks … the Terror in the Woods was finally dead.
- Feature photo credit: Cover art for the Black Goat of the Woods expansion for Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight Games. Source.
- Game date: August 24, 2014
- Andrew Buchanan: 4 xp
- August Farnstaff: 4 xp
- Rikard Greystone: 4 xp
- Alistair Sebastian Cadwalader Martindrake III: 4 xp
- McGinnis: 4 xp