Black Blood of the Earth

Scenario Summary

In October of 1925, Southern California Standard & Oil gained control of an oil field that had gone untouched since an incident in 1920 that left three men dead and the owner missing. Acts of sabotage have been significantly dropping the development of the property and the tension created by management has started a worker’s strike. Recently, a night security officer was found dead. The Investigators are hired as “scabs” to investigate the death and the strange circumstances surrounding it.

However, little does Southern California Standard & Oil know, the tunnels under “Stewart Field” hold evidence of a very old civilization, one that made pacts with dark entities. What lives in the cave is up to the Keeper: the crazed former owner of the property or a trapped mutant shoggoth.

Scene 1
Scene 1 by Tatan

Keeper Notes

This scenario has two possible options for the final conflict: a murderous Jeremiah Stewart or an adapted shoggoth descendant. If the Keeper wants to extend the scenario further, both of these options could be used, with an altruistic Jeremiah Stewart keeping workers away from the shoggoth lair, by murder if necessary. 

Jeremiah Wentworth “JW” Stewart

Former owner of Steward Field, Jeremiah encountered something in the caverns that drove him insane. If he is the primary antagonist, then he is the murderer of his three employees and the night guard, smashing them with an oversized sledgehammer. However, he believes that a large creature living in the oil under the field is responsible for these deaths, sticking to his convictions even when confronted with contrary facts. His description of the monster matches the description of the mutant shoggoth. 

Stewart firmly believes that by keeping others away from the caverns, he is saving the world. He has completely lost his grip on reality and has been living off food refuse stolen from the nearby houses, oil fields, and businesses. He sleeps in the caverns during the day to avoid detection.

The Mutant Shoggoth

Living in the oil filled caverns beneath Steward Field is a “mutant” shoggoth, adapted to its environment after several thousand years. The mutant shoggoth was forced into the caverns by cultists using fire several thousand years ago, and they sealed the entrance to their ritual caverns. Trapped inside, the mutant shoggoth adapted to its environment. Unaware of tectonic shifts or the growth of other human civilizations, it remained solitary until an exit was dug by Jeremiah Stewart. The mutant shoggoth responded defensively and has continued to probe the topside world at night to make sure that no humans are threatening its home and food source. 

*The mutant shoggoth is a variant from the traditional shoggoth due to adaptation, and its stats and description can be found at the end of the scenario.

Stewart Field

Officially named “JW Steward Oil Production Field,” Stewart Field is a 13-acre plot of land near Huntington Beach, California that is the site of an old cave, once used by dark cultists for their ritual meetings, but is now the home to the mutant shoggoth mentioned above. In the caverns under this property are pockets of crude oil, holding up to 100,000 barrels of potential harvest. This lucrative location has the basic infrastructure for pumping this oil, but was abandoned after the incident in 1920.

There is a rough tunnel into the cavern system under the property that was created by Jeremiah in 1920. Stewart noticed oil seeping from the ground and decided to dig an angled hole to find the source. The tunnel runs for 30 feet before braking through a cave wall and into the cavern system. Before things went awry on the property, Jeremiah covered the hole with a false outhouse, thus concealing this entrance. 

Southern California Standard & Oil

SCS&O is one of the largest crude oil production conglomerates in the State of California, but its particularly large in Los Angeles and the greater Orange County area. It is connected to several political entities, steel production companies, and, in a very loose way, Federated Oil and Chemical. SCS&O has a reputation for profits over progress, which has placed it in the way of political changes, like the suffrage movement, and made it unpopular among the regular oil laborers. But since it produces jobs and keeps a steady flow of oil moving through the United States, it continues to be a top corporation.

The Workers Strike

Because SCS&O decided to withhold pay due to the sabotaged production, the worker’s union leaders decided that a strike was in order. All the SCS&O employees working Stewart Field are part of the strike, so the Investigators are “scabs” if they cross the picket line, which they must to respond to their summons. 

The oil workers will respond to the Investigators in the course of their work, but they will be reluctant and potentially aggressive. The Keeper may require a Charm, Fast Talk, Persuasion, or Psychology roll before an oil worker will answer or respond to any questions.

Dramatis Personae

Jacque “Jack” Baker: The large, pot-bellied foreman for SCS&O. Jack has been in his position for only a year but is a grizzled businessman who once owned his own oil company. When his fields stopped producing, SCS&O offered a buyout deal in exchange for his acumen. 

Salvatore “Sal” Rossi: The young, slick-haired union representative of Oil Workers Union #68. Sal has no vested interest in anything going on at Stewart Field, but he cares that his dues paying workers aren’t paying their dues. Before the strike, he didn’t know how to find Stewart Field. Because he is the boss of the strike, he will talk with the Investigators, assuming they represent SCS&O.

Brian “Big House” Johnson: One of the SCS&O workers at Stewart Field, Johnson was the one who found the opening to the caverns. Despite the name, Johnson is quite small and is called “Big House” because he was a burglar in his youth and spent time in Folsom State Prison after he robbed the Mayor of Long Beach and was caught red handed. He has since rehabilitated.

Jeremiah “JW” Stewart: Only understood through his journal, Stewart has either seen the mutant shoggoth or driven mad by something and believes there’s a mutant shoggoth. Stewart is a British aristocrat who moved to California after the war. He bought the property in the Huntington Beach with the intention of building a manor house. When the construction accidentally discovered oil on the property, Stewart changed his plans. However, his oil dreams were never realized.

Background

Five years before the scenario opens, Jeremiah Wentworth Stewart disappeared at the same time that three of his employees were found beaten to death on his property. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department searched far and wide, but Jeremiah was never found. There were rumors at the time that Jeremiah had gone crazy and killed his three employees, but there were other explanations as well, including but not limited to faulty work equipment considering that several of the machines and tools in the area had been damaged that same evening.

In September 1925, Southern California Standard & Oil finally managed to coerce the city into releasing Stewart Field to the public for purchase, after which they greedily snatched it up. Since October 1st, SCS&O employees have been working tirelessly to get the oil pumps installed and extracting. At first,  things went smoothly, but once the oil started flowing, the company began experiencing problems ranging from crimped pump lines to employees leaving the site without notice. Recently, they began finding machinery damaged and, suspecting sabotage, has withheld pay until the culprit is found. 

This exacerbated the situation, so a security company was hired to watch the property overnight. The next morning, October 29th, yesterday, the night guard was found dead, his skull and several of his bones crushed. The investigating workers found a small tunnel under the property that led to a cave with strange glyphs carved on the walls. Before they could look further, the workers’ union began a strike, citing the withheld pay as their primary reason. Because of the picket line, SCS&O has contacted the Investigators to determine the culprit of the sabotage and murder, and what is to be done about the caverns under the property.

Opening

:

As the fall weather descends upon Huntington Beach on October 30th, 1925, so does a feeling of insurrection, particularly against Southern California Standard & Oil, the largest oil producing conglomerate in Orange County. Stewart Field, inactive for the last five years, has begun buzzing with activity, but the workers don’t seem pleased by the situation, picketing outside the fence while shouting about their wages.

Looking at the message you received one more time, you confirm that you are at the right place. ‘Stewart Field, Southern California Standard & Oil. Mr. Baker, Foreman. 9:00 AM.’ All this seems to be right, but you were not expecting to cross a picket line. After watching the protestors for a long moment, you see several security guards posted off to the side, obviously placed to grant access to the property.

Read Aloud

Each Investigator received a request to come to Stewart Field and meet with Mr. Jack Baker, the Foreman of the newly acquired property. Regardless of their background, there are several tasks that need completion, as the property has very few active workers. SCS&O needs to investigate the sabotage and the night guard’s death, survey the situation the cavern network and determine the next steps, and construct the necessary structures on the property to get the oil production ready. Almost every occupation is acceptable and if the Investigators are willing to be scabs, there’s a strong payout for their cooperation.

The chaos outside the property is juxtaposed to the silence inside the property. With the workers on strike, only a handful of brave souls endured the shouts and spittle as they came into work for the “scab” wages (triple normal wages). They work quietly, but happily, and many are smoking identical “Sullivan” cigars as they prep tools, saw wood, roll hoses, etc. They are cooperative, but only know where to find Mr. Baker’s shack office.

Baker’s office is a 14-foot by 14-foot box with a flat roof set to the northeast corner of the property. The Investigators will find him there, smoking profusely on a Sullivan cigar. When the Investigators enter, before they have identified themselves, Baker invites them into his office and offers one of the five dozen Sullivan cigars he has in a wooden box with the SCS&O company logo stamped on the lid. A handwritten letter beside the box indicates that these are a gift from the corporate office to the scabs who crossed the picket line.

The Job

Because there are many tasks that need to be completed, Baker expresses that his priorities are to determine if guard’s death was murder and to assess whether the caverns under the property will affect oil extraction. He needs experienced investigators, trained surveyors, educated geologists and anthropologists, and manual labor workers. The tunnel will likely need to be widened for most people to access the caverns and at least one strong laborer should hold the rope outside the tunnel for safety. One of the other scabs can be used for this purpose.

The Explosion

After finishing the job discussion and pay negotiation, an explosion rocks the property. When Baker and the Investigators step outside, they see the first complete tower of Stewart Field aflame. It is on the southwest end of the property, well away from the picket line and far enough inside the property that it was deemed safe from picketer sabotage. Quickly taking count of the scabs, Baker determines that all are accounted for and shouts for them to put out the fire before it spreads.

Turning to the investigators, Baker informs them that the tunnel is not too far from now burning tower. He changes his priorities from investigating the murder to determining if there’s a connection between the tunnel and the sabotage. He doubles the Investigators’ pay offer if they can find answers before the end of the day.

If the Investigators help put out the fire, there are no skill rolls that will help in this process. Instead, they will need to make STR rolls to carry and throw water, CON rolls to endure the heat, DEX rolls to avoid being burned for 1 Damage, and INT rolls to determine the most direct sources of danger. The number of these rolls is up to the Keeper.

Investigating The Incident

Arriving at the tower, the Investigators will find most of the scab workers putting out the flames while the remainder are moving equipment away from the structure. Despite the explosion, the steel supports are fine and, albeit a bit scorched, no worse for wear. One of the scabs offers an unsolicited opinion that the structure will hold and that the pumps can be rebuilt in a day or so, setting the company back only a little. Another scab scratches his head as he assesses a damaged oil pump nearby.

When looking around, the Investigators find the following:

  • The primary pump was stuck by something heavy, causing a piece of the machine to shear off and expose the wiring.
  • The exposed wiring ignited the leaking the feed line to the liquid storage.
  • The liquid storage was the source of the explosion, as the pressurized liquid inside was caught by the flames of the melting feed line.
  • A trail of dripped sulfuric crude oil leads away from the tower and to a haphazardly built outhouse. 
  • Beside the outhouse is a flattened rigger flag, a piece of yellow fabric tied to a wood stake.

If the Investigators approach the rigger flag, they quickly discover that it marks the tunnel location, which is noticeable by the sulfur smell coming from it. The flag has been knocked over and pressed into the soft dirt by something that seems to have come from the tunnel. The tunnel itself runs at an angle below the outhouse, and appears to access the outhouse pit latrine, but it is clearly intended to distract investigators as the outhouse is non-functional.  

What the scabs Knows: The scabs are locals of Huntington Beach and many of them are freelance oil men, jumping from job to job. They are quite aware of the 1920 incident and all the rumors surrounding it, including the crazy theory that no one died and it was all a ploy for SCS&O to buy the property from Jeremiah Stewart who is back in England with his aristocrat family. Many of the scabs heard the story that Stewart was a war hero, having commanded the only British regiment in the Rhineland that did not suffer casualties, but most do not believe this story.


Investigating Stewart Field

If the Investigators choose to investigate Stewart Field, they will find an extensive listing of newspaper references in the Huntington Beach Library. The local paper, Huntington Beach News, reported frequently on the Stewart Field incident developments in 1920 and 21. When asked, the Librarian will point to the Huntington Beach News archives, of which is the biggest expose on the subject from February 5th, 1921 (Handout 1). 

If the Investigators ask Baker for more information about Stewart Field, he’ll give them a basic report, but tell them that most of the information he has about the field’s oil potential comes from the “JW Files” held in a small box in the corner of his office. This box contains the survey reports commissioned by Jeremiah Stewart, a roughly sketched map of the property, an article about the 1920 incident (Handout 1), and a bound leather journal. If the Investigators open the journal, they will find that it has not been opened in years. The last few entries show a person teetering on the edge of insanity (Handout 2).

What Baker Knows: Baker is not a native to Huntington Beach and is only vaguely aware of the 1920 incident. Most of what he knows comes from the article given to him by SCS&O with the documents from Stewart. He skimmed the article and ignored the journal, focusing instead on reading the surveyor’s reports to compare them to the SCS&O surveyor reports. He knows more about the oil potential of Stewart Field than its history. 

Scene 2
Scene 2 by Tatan

Investigating the Workers

If the Investigators choose to question the workers on strike, they will be met with resistance. As scabs, the Investigators do not start off on a good foot with the regular workers. In fact, the moment they come out of the property, at least one picketing worker will spit at them. However, assuming they are part of the SCS&O special negotiating team, Sal Rossi will calm the workers and pull the Investigators aside. 

Once in a private audience with Sal, the Investigators will find him to be a dubious double-talker, always trying to catch the angle of a sentence, assuming it’s a veiled lie or a clever innuendo. He’ll consider the conversation a détente and treat it like the opening of a negotiation. If the Investigators play along, they will learn everything they can from Sal and come away with nothing. 

If the Investigators press that they are looking into the guard’s death and the sabotage in the complex, Sal will break, having seen the tower explosion from outside the property. Not wanting to be implicated, Sal will tell the Investigators what he knows about Stewart Field, which isn’t much beyond the 1920 incident and the purchase of the property by SCS&O. However, he will direct them to Brian “Big House” Johnson, the smallest man, almost a child, on the picket line.

What Johnson Knows: Johnson does not know much. Because of his criminal past, he was part of the team sent to investigate the security guard’s death, assuming he knew how to find evidence. They found nothing but the tunnel under the outhouse near the oil tower. Because of Johnson’s size, he was volunteered to crawl down the tunnel to see where it went. Once he entered the cave, he was completely overwhelmed by the vastness of the system. On the walls he saw “native pictures” as he called them, despite them predating native civilizations. However, when he heard the slick, slithering sounds echoing off the wall, he rushed back up the tunnel to report what he had found. He does not know what the sound was, but it certainly made him feel uneasy. 

On the topside

If the Investigators choose not to enter the caverns and decide to spend the day investigating Stewart Field, they will be able to find all kinds of information regarding the SCS&O, Jack Baker, Sal Rossi, Brian Johnson, and Jeremiah Stewart. However, there is very little information topside to help the investigators determine what is happening at Stewart Field. Here is what they can find:

  • The guard reported hearing movement near the pumping tower during his patrol. His body was found near the area indicated in his log.
  • The autopsy report from the guard reveals that several of his bones, including his skull, were crushed. His fractured rips punctured his lungs and heart.
  • The autopsy reports from the 1920 incident match the report about the guard.
  • Crude oil slicks, like the one near the tower, were found at every one of the sabotage incidents.

Just after sunset, there will be another attack, this time on a scab packing up for the weekend or an Investigator near the oil tower.

In the Cavern

Investigators with a Size of 65 or smaller have no problem squeezing through the short, 30-foot tunnel into the caverns if they don’t mind getting their pants dirty. Bigger Investigators will have to expand the tunnel with some rudimentary digging. After burning through sunlight, the tunnel is big enough for everyone, but the noise of the effort has alerted whatever is living in the caverns which will be waiting for them to come down.

Once inside, the Investigators find the walls covered in ancient petroglyphs. A successful Anthropology, Archaeology, or History roll reveals that these glyphs predate any known civilization, but the rudimentary characteristics found in later petroglyphs are present. This suggests that these petroglyphs stem from a proto-Mesoamerican civilization. They form a mural, but a bend in the cave dips them below a sulfur-mixed pool of crude oil.

The petroglyphs describe a group of people gaining power from some divine source and hunting or warring against an enemy army represented by animals with several legs. The war clearly does not go well for the human army and the murals suggest that they flee somewhere northward for safety. Unfortunately, the last part of the story is cut off by the oil pit, but presumably it explains how the group came to this region.

As the Investigators see repetitions of this story throughout the caverns, the “gods and monsters” of the story becomes more vivid, presumably as the civilization improved their art, until the depictions become well enough for an Investigator to make a Cthulhu Mythos roll. A success reveals these entities are Elder Things, Star Spawn of Cthulhu, and Mi-Go. Even if they don’t succeed, Investigators who study these later petroglyphs, which are much more vivid, must make a Sanity (1/1d4) roll as they suddenly discern that these are not legendary monsters, but real creatures the proto civilization encountered.

The cavern extends away from the entrance, creating a maze of twists and turns through sulfuric stalactites and stalagmites. Pits of oil appear frequently, and some paths branch off into pools of the dark liquid. In only a few moments after entering, it becomes obvious to the Investigators that the cavern system is massive and probably extends far beyond the property. No doubt the entire Huntington Beach area interconnected on the same oil field, signaling that the multiple companies compete for the same supply. 

Once the Investigators are deep into the cavern, they begin to hear a slick slithering echoing off the walls near them. However, each time the Investigators stop, the slithering stops a quick moment after.

Eventually, the Investigators find a closed area of the cavern in which there is evidence of someone or something dwelling there. Depending on the Keeper’s choice of antagonist, this is either household refuse from food garbage brought into the cave, or a pile of bones left by the mutant shoggoth. Among the bones are human possessions, like wallets, watches, glasses, etc., all of which were not digested by the mutant shoggoth. Recognizing these are human remains elicits a Sanity (0/1) roll.

The Confrontation

Regardless of the Keeper’s choice of antagonist, the Investigators will encounter a surprise attack. There are only two responses to the attack: Fight or Flee. Fleeing creates a chase, and if the Investigators are in the cavern system, there are several hazards and barriers that they must overcome to escape (see “The Chase”)

Jeremiah Stewart

If Jeremiah Steward is the antagonist of this scenario, he will come at the Investigators in a mad frenzy, wielding an oversized sledgehammer stained with blood. He misses his first swing, exploding a stalactite or denting a steel pylon instead of an Investigator’s head, but quickly recovers to face the investigators.

Despite the murderous rage in his eyes, a Hard Psychoanalysis, Charm, Persuade, or Psychology Success will break his concentration and cause him to delay an attack. If pressed a second time for a Hard Success, the Investigators will break his will entirely and give him a moment of depressed sanity.

Fast Talk, Intimidate, or attacking Jeremiah has the opposite effect, causing him to go deeper into his psychosis. Believing he’s fighting the monster of his visions, Jeremiah will keep attacking until he either wins or is killed or unconscious. If he’s stopped, the Investigators can compare the hammer to the security guard’s bruising and find it consistent. The blood is also the same type (B+) as the security guard, and two of the men killed in 1920.

The Mutant Shoggoth

If the mutant shoggoth is the antagonist of this scenario, it will attack the Investigators with a warbled “Tekeli-li” as it sprouts 2 limbs, giving itself 3 attacks per Round. Investigators will need to make a Sanity (1/1d10) roll when they see this creature. It will primarily attempt to slam and crush the Investigators but is not beyond swiping to knock them to the ground so that it can slam them. If the Investigators get too close to the shoggoth, it will attempt to engulf them by seizing the Investigator and shoving them into its maw, leaving the bones in the cavern lair.

The mutant shoggoth cannot be charmed or persuaded, but a Hard Intimidate Success may break its concentration and cause it to delay an attack. While it has caused fires in the past, it is quite afraid of fire and will attack any fire source, hitting anyone nearby as collateral damage. 

Without fire, the mutant shoggoth only takes 1 point of damage from attacks with mundane weapons, including bullets. However, fire does 1d6 damage to the mutant shoggoth, and because it lives and is coated in oil, a Successful Luck roll following a fire attack results in the mutant shoggoth becoming engulfed in flames that do another 1d6 damage each Round until the creature is dead. However, the mutant shoggoth will continue to attack the Investigators, dealing an extra +1d6 damage from the fire whenever it hits.

If the investigators encounter the mutant shoggoth in the caverns, read the following aloud:

The sound of thick bubbling in a nearby oil pool attracts your attention. You watch as three lazy bubbles form and pop on the top of the pool. A fourth bubble appears soon after, but it doesn’t pop as quickly as the others and as you look at it, you realize that it is no bubble, but an eye as it turns to look at you. Before you can react, the pool explodes in a spray of thick, black liquid that trails behind a large, gelatinous creature that slinks viscously toward you. It emits a high-pitched, warbled “Tekali-li” sound as three long, arm-like appendages reach out from the creature’s body, stretching its tar-like skin, and begin flailing wildly.

If the investigators encounter the mutant shoggoth topside, read the following aloud:

In the darkness, you hear a movement, and when you turn, you find something unexplainable. A mound of black, tar-like jelly has formed on the grass in your path, but as you look at it, three bubbles form rapidly on its surface. Inside these bubbles, something spins and eventually all three come upon you. In a sudden realization, you recognize that these are eyes as the gelatinous mass slinks viscously toward you, emitting a high-pitched, warbled “Tekali-li” sound as three long, arm-like appendages reach out from the creature’s body, stretching its tar-like skin, and begin flailing wildly.

NOTE: If both antagonists are chosen by the Keeper, then Jeremiah will rant crazily about the “beast of the cave” and try to warn the Investigators that “the beast cometh.” He will still attack Investigators that do not run from him. He will not be trying to kill anyone, but rather force them to retreat from the tunnel.

Scene 3
Scene 3 by Tatan

The Chase

Shoggoth/Jeremiah Lair (location), narrow opening to the lair (hazard), gas room (hazard), fork in the cavern (location), small oil pool (hazard), stalagmite floor (hazard), bend in the cavern (location), navigating the maze (hazard), rubble (hazard), larger oil pool (barrier), petroglyph cave (location), and the tunnel to the topside (barrier).

  1. Shoggoth/Jeremiah Lair

At the opening of the chase, the Investigators AND the mutant shoggoth/Jeremiah begin in this location, a bit unorthodox for a typical chase scene, but the mutant shoggoth/Jeremiah are so preoccupied with flailing wildly, the Investigators are considered to be at 2 movements from the antagonist.

  1. Narrow Opening 

The narrow opening to the lair is a barrier for the mutant shoggoth, but not the Investigators. This allows the investigators to gain distance from the mutant shoggoth as it must slow to squeeze itself through the opening, spending an action to reshape itself. As it does, the mutant shoggoth must make a DEX roll, a failure of which costs another movement action.

  1. Gas Room

Barreling out of the shoggoth/Jeremiah lair, the Investigators are unable to crack the thin surface of a sulfur gas pocket, spraying the room with toxic air. A Failed CON roll results in losing a Movement action.

  1. Fork in the Cavern

A fork that the Investigators did not encounter moving forward through the cavern appears now that they are headed in the opposite direction. The Investigators must choose left or right. The truth is that both lead to the same location (Bend in the Cavern), but they encounter different Hazards along the way.

  1. Small Oil Pool

Taking the right path, the Investigators encounter a pool of crude oil fills half of the chamber, creating a slipping hazard for the Investigators. A failed DEX roll results in falling on the oil and losing a movement action.

  1. Stalagmite Floor

Taking the left path, the Investigators encounter a section of the cave that is vast and relatively level, but is full of short, newly forming stalagmites. These create a tripping hazard for the Investigators. A failed DEX roll results in falling on the rocks and taking 1 Damage.

  1. Bend in the Cavern

Roughly at the midpoint of the path from the lair to the entrance, the bend allows a long stretch of uninterrupted running, but the sounds of the pursuer echo off the wall of the bend. 

  1. Navigating the Maze

The passages through the tunnel were made over centuries and are primarily just pathways through the stalagmites, resulting in dead ends and chokepoints. The Investigators can make an INT or Navigate roll to remember the route and take the shortest route back. Failure results in losing a movement as the Investigators double back on themselves. The mutant shoggoth automatically passes this test as it has lived in the caverns for a very long time.

  1. Rubble

Fallen rubble in the path back to the entrance presents a tripping hazard for the Investigators. A failed DEX roll results in falling on the rocks and taking 2 Damage. 

  1. Larger Oil Pool

A large pool of oil takes up most of a chamber, but a narrow shelf wraps around the outside of this pool. It was easy enough to navigate slowly before, but because the Investigators are in a hurry, a failed DEX roll results losing a movement action for themselves and the others behind them. Alternatively, the Investigators may opt to jump into the crude oil to swim across. A failed Swim roll results in a mouthful of sulfuric crude oil and lose of a movement action. The shoggoth easily moves through the oil pool without slowing its movement.

  1. Petroglyph Cave

Near the end of the chase, the Investigators return to the cavern area with the tunnel entrance. The room is still covered with the petroglyphs, and the entrance to the tunnel that leads topside is clear.

Tunnel to the Topside

The tunnel to the topside is the only way back to the surface, and even if it has been expanded, it still requires each character climb up the tunnel one at a time. Characters can move through the tunnel quickly with a Successful Climb roll, but a failure results in each character still in the Petroglyph Cave losing a movement action.

Conclusion

Dealing with a crazed Jeremiah Stewart should result in at least one investigator surviving the scenario; the mutant shoggoth is another matter entirely. If the Investigators only escape from the mutant shoggoth but do not kill it, the Keeper could initiate a second encounter with the creature before ending the scenario.

Regardless of the antagonist, SCS&O will want to pin all the sabotage and murder on Jeremiah Stewart. If the Investigators subdued him, Mr. Baker will want to clamp him in irons and turn him over to the Orange County Sherriff’s Department. If Jeremiah Stewart is dead, Mr. Baker will immediately begin drafting a story for the press and SCS&O’s corporate office, ignoring the information about the caverns.

Rewards and Repercussions

Having solved mystery plaguing the community since 1920, the Investigators are thrust into the limelight. And because solving this mystery means that SCS&O can release the workers’ wages, the Investigators are praised by Sal Rossi, which results in apologies from the workers for treating them like scabs. 

All this praise results in the Investigators gaining +1d6 Sanity Points. However, if Jeremiah Stewart was taken into custody, the investigators can gain another +1d4 Sanity Points if they become involved in his long-term rehabilitation.

If the Investigators merely escaped the mutant shoggoth and it still lives underneath Stewart Field, the Investigators suffer nightmares of a dark creature coming from underneath their home via the large cavern system, resulting a -1d6 Sanity Points and prolonged psychological effects.

Stats

Mutant Shoggoth

STR 165 CON 125 SIZ 150 DEX 65 INT 65 POW 65

Health: 26 Damage Bonus: +3d6 Move: 8

Combat

Attacks per Round: 1+ 1 per every 50 Size (3 total). 

Slam 40% – Damage: 1d3+3d6

Engulf 50% – Damage: 3d6

Dodge 32% 

Engulf: 1 Target per time. A successful attack results in being able to yank the target into its maw and attempt to digest them. Target may resist with a STR roll.

Armor: Mundane weapons do 1 damage each time

Spells: none

Sanity Loss: 1/1d10 

Jeremiah Stewart, 54, Crazed Oil Owner

STR 45 CON 55 SIZ 45 DEX 80 INT 70

APP 50 POW 45 EDU 75 SAN 00 HP 10

DB: 0 Build: 0 Move: 8 MP: 9 Luck: —

Combat

Attacks per round: 1

Brawl 40% (20/8), damage 1D3 or oversized sledgehammer 1D8

Dodge 50% (25/10)

Skills

Accounting 80%, Archaeology 20%, Charm 10%, Credit Rating 60%, Fast Talk 70%, History (France) 35%, Listen 55%, Persuade 35%, Psychology 30%, Spot Hidden 40%, Stealth 50%, Throw 30%.

Languages: English 75%.

Salvatore “Sal” Rossi, 23

STR 75 CON 80 SIZ 70 DEX 70 INT 75

APP 75 POW 60 EDU 60 SAN 60 HP 15

DB: +1D4 Build: 1 Move: 8 MP: 12 Luck: 30

Combat

Attacks per round: 1

Brawl 65% (32/13), damage 1D3+1D4

Colt .45 revolver 40% (20/8), damage 1D10+2

Dodge 35% (17/7)

Skills

Climb 35%, Credit Rating 15%, Drive Auto 70%, Intimidate65%, Mechanical Repair 60%, Navigate 60%, Operate Heavy Machinery 50%, Persuade 50%, Psychology 40%, Spot Hidden 65%, Stealth 50%, Throw 40%.

Languages: English 60%.

Handouts

Handout 1 – February 1921 News clipping

February 1921 News clipping
February 1921 News clipping

After 6 long months of investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has finally released a statement regarding the incident at JW Steward Oil Production Field on August 9th last year. The Sheriff’s Department believes that Jeremiah Stewart has fled the State of California in order to avoid prosecution over the deaths of the three men found early in the morning on his property.

This is a major step towards solving the case, as yet the Sheriff’s Department has refused to release any indication that they even investing the case. The admission of a potential suspect suggests that this case is not out of their minds, and that they hope to come to a conclusion that will bring the community peace.

Our dear readers may remember from our previous stories that while the oil working men were arriving at the site early in the morning on the 9th of August, 1920, their minds focused on the quick win by the Tigers over the Yanks, they were surprised to discover a grisly scene. Three of their compatriots were lying dead in the mud of the field, their bodies mangled horrifically. The owner, Jeremiah Wentworth Stewart, was no where to be found despite his automobile being parked outside the property. 

We know, based on further investigation, that Stewart has requested these men stay late into the evening to help him with special project, and we know that they expected compensation for their time. We do not know what special request Stewart had for his men, nor do we know if they completed the task. It has speculated that they did, in fact, complete the task and Stewart murdered these men to avoid compensating them. 

Whatever the reason, it is believed that Stewart is still at large. His field stands inactive as no oil man in Orange County will step foot on the property while Stewart could come back to continue his evil deeds. 

Handout 2 – From Journal

The Journal of Jeremiah Wentworth Stewart

The journal reads like the journal of an average aristocrat born in the aftermath of Benjamin Disraeli and at the tale end of reign of Queen Victoria. It begins in 1917 and shows his passion for the Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion with which he served as part of a war-time commission. He was primarily responsible for supply logistics and information dissemination, but he loved the men. When he is relieved of his position, the journal shows a man who did not want to return to the aristocratic life his cousins shared and decided to come to the United States to simply live among people who do not know what they were doing but do it anyway. 

After the journal skips several months, the entries begin to suggest that Stewart fell in love with the “American Spirit” and began a westward trek to come to California and experience the pioneer feel. Entries become sparse until he is living in California, and then it chronicles his attempts to court a woman in San Francisco, make money from a business venture in Sacramento, and then finally his plans to build a manor in Huntington Beach so that his family can visit him. However, when he discovers oil on his property in May 1920, the journal becomes frantic with entries regarding the prospects of the property.

Beginning in July 1920, Stewart begins to write about “acts of sabotage” in which equipment is being destroyed or lost and none of his employees will confess. He replaces his crew several times and is continually frustrated when the acts continue. The final entries suggest he has begun to believe that a “monster” is responsible for all this destruction.

August 7th

August 7th Journal
August 7th Journal

A sighting of a creature has led me to believe that there is something under the property that is to blame for the sabotage of our production. Having and replaced my employees three times not, I cannot possibly accept the idea that an insurrectionist works among them. But a large creature that is following its animal instincts is more logical than any other hypothesis I have entertained thus far. If there truly is a creature, I intend to catch it and stop it permanently.

August 8th

August 8th Journal
August 8th Journal

I was unable to sight the creature last night, but I also found myself waking in the early hours, having fallen asleep during the night. However, I remember dreaming that I witnessed a dark slug moving through the properly, slithering from corner to corner curiously. I remember being afraid of the creature, then curious about it, and then finally I reached out. My dream then turned into a nightmare as the sludge formed a mockery of my hand and arm as it reached back at me. Next time, I will bring others to keep me alert.

NO DATE – Scrawled in bizarre handwriting.

Scrawled in bizarre handwriting
Scrawled in bizarre handwriting

I do not believe I struck the hideous thing, nor do I believe that if I had, I would have injured in any significant way. But when the acrid smoke of my pistol vanished, so had the creature. I can only assume one thing: the sound of the gun impacted so intensely upon its highly sensitive tympanic membrane that it retreated into the muffled underground caverns beneath my property. I believe it remains there, even today, frolicking in the black blood of the Earth while thinking of the next time it can return to the surface and revel in the murder of men.

*Special thanks to my coworker Calvin for helping me develop the “Mutant Shoggoth” concept that made this WHOLE scenario possible.

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