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October-ganza 21: Lost Kingsport

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October 21, 2014 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)

Soon after the publication of Kingsport: City in the Mists, a short article by Kevin Ross (author of said book) appeared in issue #4 of the Unspeakable Oath.  That short article was not included in the annotated version of the first four issues of the Oath that were posted online, and has remained rather obscure thanks to the rarity of early issues of the Oath.  For today’s October-ganza entry we are pleased to present it here on the Sentinel Hill Press blog, thanks to the generosity of Kevin Ross.  Thank you Kevin!

Dreams Lost at Sea

In keeping with the oneiric tone and emphasis of the book, it was intended that each scenario in Kingsport have something to do with dreams. Unfortunately, in writing the final scenario as a flat-out horror piece, the dreaming elements were forgotten by the author – perhaps they were borrowed by Hypnos for a time. The following dreams may be used by Keepers during the course of the nautical nightmare which climaxes the book.  The Keeper may use as many or few as desired, and may determine who has them by having the investigators roll their Dreaming skills. Note that these dreams should only be had by those sleeping in Kingsport.

The Ghost in the Fog — A good dream to use early in the adventure, when the investigators still don’t know what they’re up against. The dreamer awakens aboard a fishing boat at sea, alone and adrift in a pea soup fog. After several minutes adrift, a huge shape emerges from the fog – a great ruined ship at least a century old. It sails directly for the investigator’s tiny craft, and will surely crush it Miraculously, before it does so it begins to sink, plunging below the surface mere yards away. But the whirlpool caused by its sinking sucks the investigator’s craft down, and the hapless dreamer is drawn under with it. With a failed Sanithy roll the dreamer loses 1 point of Sanity and awakens with a scream, dripping-wet with sweat.

Voices in the Mist — This dream might befall someone who has read the Customs official’s account of the fate of the Hellene. The dreamer “awakens” in a world bathed in mist – no landmarks can be made out, nor can the dreamer see or feel his own body. He does hear voices in the mist.

“Corben, come out ye blaggard! Ye’ve no place to run! Come out or yell hang fer certain!”

“Curse ye, Aylesworth. ye damned fool! I’ll see ye in Hell first!” (A gunshot follows).

(A confused babble of voices) “…cade the door… torches, well smoke them out… are you looking at? That’s our sav…”

“For God’s sake, Corben, half your men are dead or dying! Give this up-“

“Give me that brand, ye puling bastard! Now, mates, who dies with me – in faith – shall live again!”

(A confused babble of panicked voices) “Sweet Jes… get out! …iring the magazine!” (maniacal laughter)

At this point there is a massive explosion, and the dreamer actually sees a bright light – he has awakened to the morning sun.

Finally, Making Port After All These Years — This dream should occur near the end of the adventure, after the investigators have seen the hell-ship at least once. Try to make this dream as realistic as possible. In this nightmare, one or more of the investigators “awakens” in the middle of the night. Looking out a window, a weird green glow is visible on the horizon, its origin seemingly in Kingsport Harbor, Going out to investigate in the chilly, misty night, the dreamer comes down to the shore to find the huge, ruined hulk of the Hellene anchored in the center of the Harbor-greenish light pouring from within the ship and playing about it like St Elmo’s fire. Yellow-green tendrils snake out of the gaping holes in her hull and from her deck, reaching into the water and wriggling obscenely towards shore. One such tentacular growth pushes inside a nearby fisherman’s shack, and moments later there is a curiously abbreviated scream from within. Other tendrils wave in the investigator’s direction, and as he presumably turns to leave he is confronted by a dripping-wet, seaweed-draped, horribly fish-eaten corpse. With a moistly rattling chuckle it reaches for him, but the dreamer thankfully awakens. With a failed Sainty roll the dreamer loses 1D3 points of Sanity and screams as above.

Curse you evil bugs!

Curse you evil bugs!

Another lost bit of Kingsport, thanks to some over-eager layout, is the full text of Kingsport location 803 – the Site of the Old Gibbet. In the 2003 reprint of the book, the layout included a lot of what I will politely call extraneous images of insects. Unfortunately on page 79 the bugs got a little out of hand, covering up a portion of the text. With Chaosium’s kind permission, I’m posting the obscured text here, just in case you have a copy of the 2003 edition.

803 The Site of the Old Gibbet
Not quite a mile out of town, beside the lonely track aptly called Hangman’s Road, stands a small marble obelisk which has become something of a morbid tourist attraction. A bronze plaque monunted on the stone tells the story of the witch-scare in Kingsport in 1692 and recounts the hanging of thirteen suspected witches during that period.

None of the slain are named. The plaque goes on to say that the Salem witch hysteria had spread to Kingsport and that those executed were – like the Salem witches – innocent of the charges. The plaque also states that a nearby path leads to where the witches were buried in unmarked graves after first being left hanging from the gibbet for days on end. The well-worn path does indeed lead off to a hidden vale where thirteen ancient unmarked graves are huddled together…

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