ICME Campaign Diary: The Cult of Yog-Sothoth


Hey guys and girls,

my table group is diving into gameplay inspired by cthuluoid things, so it’s time for me to write another campaign diary to let you follow our journey. This time, thing’s will be way different. For each adventure done, I’ll create like a newspaper report summing up the recent events. Basically, our first two sessions took some attention by the authorities and I expect this to continue. Without further ado: here’s the first newspaper article from the fictional, south-English town of Talismouth:

Friday, October 27th, 1926

Suspects constrained, ritual thwarted

What sounds like the starting of a novel, started to become shocking truth for Dorothy M. in the evening of October 26. The 84-years old woman called the police around 10.20pm after some odd sounds same from her neighbor’s house. As police arrived, they were confronted with a perfidious double murder. Still in the building, a 29-years old female suspect got caughed by the police, two men (age 22 and 43) found unconscious and were sent to Mnt. Hannah hospital for further screening.
Several objects were seizes, including the murder weapon. Police Captain Lowford was not willed to give more details due to investigationwise reasons. Furthermore no public statement about the actual murder victims was made, yet. (jfs)

For sure, the police got a couple of things wrong. 2 out of 4 PCs went insane, 1 is dying and the fourth one got surveyed / arrested.

For the sake of adding a picture to this: here’s the original newspaper article I gave to my players:



And we’ve also did our second session, so here’s that report (my players will get that one next saturday when we continue the game).

Thursday, November 3rd, 1926

22-years old man got kidnapped while unconscious

The unspeakable happened during the shift of Josephine Z. (28): Four unauthorized persons gained entrance disguised as technicians. On the hospital ward lay a 22 years old, who was fighting for his life after being recently hospitalized. The reason for kidnapping him is unclear at the present time.
A 46-year old security officer came to rescue, but was recklessly shot with a revolver. The father-of-three died of his injuries in the night of November 4th. There is no trace of the attackers, but composite sketches are been made at present time, as Police Captain Lawford affirms. (jfs)

Needless to say, that things escalated a bit



Ausgezeichnet! :sunglasses:


The Talismouth Daily cannot yet report about things that happened last session, because we started Sat. Nov. 3rd 1926 in the morning and ended in the evening of the same day. Meanwhile, the suspects of the Mnt. Hannah Shooting and Kidnapping where partially recognized due to composite sketch and the PCs will be confronted with their sketches: Mr. Hill and Ms. Miller being identified (because they are already known to police) and, the other two are John Doe for now.


  • William “Billy” Hill (42), main culprit, armed
  • Mary-Ann Miller (29), accomplice, trickster
  • unknown (mid 30), accomplice, smell of wood
  • unknown (mid 30), accomplice, well-developed muscles
    These persons are accused of shooting and kidnapping on Nov 3rd at Mnt. Hannah Hospital. Talismouth Police Department is asking the citizenry for help. Hints, that lead to the culprits’ seizure are rewarded with up to £1,000.00.

(Original wanted poster in German below)


Yesterday, we finished the first chapter of the campaign: "The Manisworth-Legacy"

The investigators found some support and will be traveling away to pursue another copy of the strange almanac. For this purpose, they received faked passports

Recent events will be summed up by Monday, Nov 7th, when Talismouth Daily will report.

Monday, November 7th, 1926

Fatal car crash on snowy road

During saturday night, three police officers from Talismouth lost control over their cars and slided off the snowy road into the forest. As matters stand, all three of them - the 58-years old Police Captain Henry Lowford, a 25-years of female deputy and a 32-years old male sergeant were dead immediately. The Creek Wood Ranger found and reported the crash site on Sunday.
Still on sunday, Sgt. Damien Farlow was constituted as Vice Police Captain. In assistance of Deputy Officer Jonathan Lowford, the son of the killed Police Captain, he started further investigation. Dpt. Lowford Jr. assumes outside influences. (jfs)



last time, they’ve started the next chapter in our campaign: The Secret of Alesbury.

Basically, they had a train ride to Scotland, encountered a couple of people including an old lady they’ve mad earlier in the southern English town of Talisworth. She clearly recognized Mary-Ann Miller and caused some trouble by breaking her fake identity in front of other train passengers. But they’ve managed to handle the situation and arrived at their desired location. During a horse ride with their local contact, George O’Salic, they witnessed some kind of ritual in the woods around Alesbury, but decided to head for the village immediately.

They did a good job in not escalating things, so escalation will be brought to them in the next game. Since they are in the middle of nowhere, no newspaper articles will be found. But they’ll encounter missing boy’s poster in Alesbury, kicking off our upcoming session.

MISSING: Steven MacDuncan

  • middle sized, 17 years old
  • brown jacket, white shirt, dark grey vest
  • along with his black sheepdog Bertram
  • last seen: evening on November 7th




meanwhile we’ve played part two of the Secret of Alesbury

Joined by two guest players, they searched for the missing shepherd’s son and entered a cave. They found a couple of torn-out diary entries telling the story of an expedition nearly 30 years ago, the the following:

Thursday, April 15th, 1897
Something dragged away MacHenderson last night. But earthquakes closed the passage, hence we had to abandon our search for him. Whatever took him is what we are looking for. But we did not see anything in the dark, except for things that do not make sense at all.


Luckily, they saved Steven and his dog Bertram and killed some young cthonians that were lurking in the darkness. Right now, the players are probably to afraid to enter any cave in the near future.

We’ll see what things may bring; but we’re pausing the game for one week and will continue the journey after that.



In summary of the first 4 sessions, I’ve summed them up as an adventure PDF. My main intend was to reflect and recap it for myself. But maybe it’s useful for your guys, too.

Link to The Manisworth Legacy:



Stellar job. Fantastic write-up. Thanks for sharing it.



yesterdaym we’ve played our third session of The Secret of Alesbury.

The player characters were confronted with a local woman’s suicide and farewell letter, which was another hint towards the strange doing in thta village.

My love Theodor,

as you are reading these lines, I’ve already left our world. My nightmares kept getting more and more intense and my tortured soul can’t take it anymore.
Even yesterday, I woke up in my bed with muddy feet and dirty cloths. This time, my hands were covered in dried blood. I couldn’t find any wounds on my body. Whose blood is it? What have I done? I can’t take it anymore. Full of longing I look back to out time together.
May god be merciful to me and grant us reunion in heaven.

Yours forever

The players quickly made the connection between the nightly rituals and slaughtered sheep, and decided to wait for the next ritual to thwart it. The next night was basically an ambush by the Chthonians below the village, who are telepathically controlling the villagers. Since the investigators previously destroyed one of the chthonian nests, the Chthonians are up for vengeance.
In the course of events, one player character, by the name of Mr. Werner Melone, went irreversibly insane. Mr. William Hill and Ms. Mary-Ann Miller made their escape with the local Lord Ian MacFurgis, whom they met. Turned out he was also up for thwarting the ritual. By MacFurgis’ strange counter-ritual, they were able to buy some time, found the almanac in MacFurgis’ manor and went away by car, together with MacFurgis and his butler Charles, who’ll be the replacement character for Werner Melone from now on.

They are going by car, have found the almanac but there are tons of questions. Who knows how things will turn out. Will the Chthonians have their revenge? What does MacFurgis has to do with the almanac the investigators were looking for? Are MacFurgis and his butler Charles trustworthy? We will find out!

As soon as the 4th adventure is done, I’ll sum up the entire chapter is another PDF: The Secret of Alesbury.



Meanwhile, our 8th session took place and we finished The Secret of Alesbury.

The PCs escaped Alesbury by car with “Lord Ian William Charles MacFurgis, Lord of Alesbury” (an absolute a-hole) and his butler Charles Olive (new PC after Werner Melone went mad). They were ambushed by Chthonians, escaped into the Linwith Marshlands and got stuck on an old, moldy bridge. They quickly abandoned the car (and MacFurgis), knowing that “something” was coming out of the swamp.

They ran into wil’o’wisps, discovered what really happened 30 years ago in Alesbury and managed to thwart the evil guy’s plan. In the process, Ms. Mary-Ann Miller lost her mind.

I’m currently working on the 2nd adventure PDF that will sum up The Secret of Alesbury. Stay tuned. At the same time, I’m prepping for the next chapter: The Case Gilbert Fensk that will take place in the fictional village of Welchbay, located at the Firth of Forth. Also I’m shifting prep methods to optimize things. We’ll see how things turn out and who’ll stay sane.



Here’s the 2nd chapter’s PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19uCXtcjEV9R-zgdiFJvAdMTEuAOidMz2/view

Have fun. Session 9 (aka 1st session of chapter 3) will be played tonight.




yesterday we’ve played the first session of The Case Gilbert Fensk, our third chapter.

Prep-wise, I shifted to the following

  • Doing something based on the Circle Method (Hank explained it on YouTube) to weave my ideas for the adventure’s backstory.
  • Prepared some characters and locations that may come into play during the session.
  • Some events that may drive the plot forward.
  • A strong start (based on the concept of the Lazy Dungeonmaster)
  • Handouts and picking music
    The full set of notes can be found in the 3rd PDF, which will be available when we finish the chapter.

The course of actions:
In the evening of Friday, November 12th, around 5.30pm, the investigators William “Billy” Hill and Charles Olive entered Fensk’s apartment, to find out he’s gone. Furthermore they search the flat for some clues and found torn journal pages. When they heard a couple of children argue about “who found it”, they leave the apartment and follow the noises into an alleyway, where children have found Fensk’s pocketwatch.
While searching for more clues, they meet Douglas MacDuncan at the lighthouse, whose name they found in those torn pages. Billy pick’s the shed’s lock and finds an idle diesel generator. Meanwhile Charles talks to the lighthouse keeper getting some minor intel. The evening turned late, so the investigators decided to go to sleep. On their way back, they learned about the fishermen missing some boats and a ferry captain by name name of Cyrus Lakefield.
On early Saturday, they investigated the castle ruins at the north. On the way along the coastline, they found remainings of a fisherboat and another torn, watery journal page. They put together that Fensk probably left the village by boat but wasn’t successful. From now on they expected to find him dead at the coast at some point. Later at the ruins, they found the strange vacationer from London, Mr. Dorman, who quickly dismissed. They looked around and found hundrets of craps that haved walked inland and behaved aggressively. When leaving the castle, they spotted a small opening in the cliffside below the lighthouse.
On their way back to town, they found a crowd of people around the corpses of the two twins of the Cuttling family. Being too afraid to look beneath the blanket, they went towards Fensk’s flat again and tried to burgle, because they’ve closed the door earlier (which was open at the beginning). Mr. and Mrs. Hollister caught them and Billy was brazen, leading to a short fist fight against Mr. Hollister. Billy suffered a couple of punches, got his jar broken and a good headache, when Charles dragged Billys unconscious body away. At the inn, they rested until evening.
In the evening they went back to the docks for Mr. Lakefield. They teamed up, stole a fisherboat and went for the opening in the cliffside, they had found earlier, which led them into a small cave where they’ve finally found Gilbert Fensk in a cataonic state. They brought him back to the docks, when the climax happened: Lakefield turned hostile, because he was working for the cult all the time. He was aided by Mr. Dorman, who’s a cultist too. With some trouble, the investigators overcame both, but were ambushed by a clawed creature. While Billy was carried in death’s arms, Charles was able to scare the creature away and safe Billy at the very(!) last moment.

We’ve played ToTM except for the final docks scene.

Session end after like 5 hours.

Things I’ve noticed

  • The locations I prepared partially were a bit dull, leading to nothing. I probably need to put more effort into preparing them.
  • The events I’ve prepared were too dependent on each other, I need to uncouple them to stay flexible.
  • Things need to be a bit faster. The players had fun, but a 5 hour session is a bit too much… next time I’ll try to offer the climax a bit earlier and maybe let things escalate a bit more quickly.

Things that worked pretty well

  • The investigators took the hook extremely well.
  • The handouts made them slowly grasp what’s going on without offering too much at once.
  • They scared away from approaching the children in the alleyway at first. They were too worried about how it would look, when two adult men approach for children in an alleyway.




the second session of The Case Gilbert Fensk took place yesterday. Seems like we’ll finish the entire campaign within the next 1-2 sessions btw.

Prep-wise, I used a similar prep method that I’ll post about separately in a couple of weeks. Short version: I prepared a couple of locations and NPCs (including “enemies”) as well as a set of possible events/escalations.

The course of action:
The third PC, Harvey MacGilleykalla, joined the party, while being mistrusted by the others. They untied the boat with dead Cyrus Lakefield after pickup up his revolver letter from one of his pockets. The letter calls Cyrus a “novice”, speaks about ley-lines and “the master’s soon awakening”. It states that Cyrus is supposed to bring Fensk “to the hall of the high priest”, so Fensk can become “the master’s vessel”. The letter closes with words the players (but not their characters) have already heard/read (due to dead/insane characters in the meantime).

Yog est infinitas, yog est portas. Sic mundus cadet est.

In the course of the next moments, the investigators discovered that something as mutilated another villager and the remaining villagers are scared. Once again they are confronted with Edward Hollister (who beat the living shit out of Billy) and after some arguing, he takes Fensk with him to “bring him to safety” (remember: he was missing since a couple of days and the investigators found him). Charles Olive tired to follow Hollister unseen but due to a failed DEX check, he was discovered by somebody and knocked unconscious. He awoke when Billy and Harvey found him; Hollister and Fensk were gone.
They decided to go for Hollister’s house (at 00:10am during a storm) but only Mrs. Hollister was at home and shoo them away, so they decided to got for the graveyard, because they heard Hollister is the village’s carpenter and gravedigger. At the graveyard they met Reverent Upton, who invited them to his near by chapel. After some information exchange and telling him the right things, he gave the investigators a newspaper article from 1754. It tells about a fatal accident in which the local Lord Andrew Leland MacFurgis fell of his castle’s battlemants and the MacFurgis clan abandoned the castle, moving back to Alesbury. Reverent Upton added, that rumors tell, this was caused “by a cult, somewhere in Welchbay”.
The investigators combined clues and decided, that there must be a temple (probably underground) in Welchbay, but at the time of 1am, they decided to split up and go home. Right before splitting, they discovered another dead villager (meanwhile No. 4) and they left afterwards quickly. Harvey has been living in Welchbay for a couple of months, so he went to his house, while the others went to their inn. On the way there, Harvey got ambushed. Time for some terrain! (we’re playing ToTM until and after that)

The creature, that Billy and Charles were able to repel earlier (where Billy nearly died), which silhouette Harvey has seen, attacked Harvey out of the shadows. Harvey dropped and the creature started to feast on him (mechnically speaking: lowering his dying timer an additional click). Thanks to Harvey’s yell for help, Billy and Charles arrived at the very last moment. Billy scared the creature away with his flashlight, while Charles used his military training to stabilize Harvey. After that, they went to Harvey’s place to sleep and take care of each other.
The next morning (more precisely 11:30am), one of the villagers knocked on Harvey’s door. The investigators found out, that the lighthouse burned down at sunrise and “those new people” (Billy and Charles) are suspected, since “everything started a couple days ago when they arrived”. So they went to the lighthouse and see half the villagers being there, full of shock. Billy went straight to the ruins but was stopped by two young man, both called Blythe (oh boy, rolling two 15s with d100s in a row…). They appeared to be badly named twins and had a fistfight with Billy (again, rolling lots of max damage - meanwhile this is a running gag at our table: “Everybody in that damn village is rolling max effort… something’s wrong here!”). The reverent deescalated the situation and we finished the session there (after roughly 4 hours).

Final notes
Once again, the adventure wasn’t planned scenes-wise but can be structured into a 5-room-dungeon afterwards. I’m convinced that’s a good sign.

  • Guardian: Harvey entering the party, everybody being suspicious and the initial clue about the high priest.
  • Challenge: First dead body found and the RP that led to Mr. Hollister taking Fensk with him
  • Setback: Hollister is neither at home nor at the graveyard. But they gain information through the Reverent
  • Climax: Second dead body found and the ambush on Harvey
  • Revelation: Finding out the lighthouse burned down and the villagers are upset about the investigators’ presence.

I’d never be able to plan that session arc in advance… it’s just great to see things unfold. I can really encourage to try out a more flexible and less linear session prep method.



Hey’ve made it! At least they’ve survived. But first things first.

It took me quite a while to thing about how to recap that session… it’s been wild!

Again, I’ve prepped the adventure to be non-linear. My prep notes will be summed up in PDF format (summing up all three chapters in a single PDF). In retrospective, the final session can be grouped into the following 5-Room-Structure:

Guardian: The burned-down lighthouse

  • The investigators found the corpse of Douglas MacDuncan, the lighthouse warden, and a letter of his father in the ruins of the lighthouse.
  • The letter foreshadows what everything is about. MacDuncan Senior left the cult of Yog Sothoth after things went out of control. The high priest wants a “vessel” for “the master” and has failed in the past years.
    That scene took us around 40min to complete

Challenge: Entering the temple

  • The investigators have already guessed, that the temple is probably under the ruins of the former castle, hence they headed to the ruins in the north of Welchbay.
  • There is a intact tower in the inner yard, leading downwards until a locked gridded door blocks the way.
  • While thousands of raging crabs (they’ve been around since 2 sessions, the PCs found out they are spurred on by something weird going on) pursue them. In the last moment, they pick the lock and continue

That scene took us around 30min to play through

Setback: The Temple Ritual

  • This seems like the climax, but wasn’t the climax at all. Cultists have chained Gilbert Fensk onto a stone altar. Former trouble maker Mr. Hollister is one of the cultists. Fensk is unconscious.
  • The investigators attack. Things go back and forth, cultists are shot, investigators are shot. But the ritual is pushed forward by the high priest, a masked guy.
  • As the ritual is completed, things happen as mentioned in the letter: The ceiling collapses into a single point while the columns stay parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor. Everything breaks apart.

This scene took us around 50min to resolve (aka the cult’s ritual is completed)

Climax: Yog-Sothoth crosses our dimension

  • The investigators find themselves in parts of their past and move back and forth between past and now each d4 rounds.
  • William “Billy” Hill, our street criminal, awakes in his hometown Talismouth and is confronted with Mr. Roger Fitzgerald Manisworth, who originally has sent him on this quest and wasn’t seen anymore. Also he’s confronted with Police Captain Lowford, for whose death Billy shared guilt.
  • Charles Olive, the butler of Lord MacFurgis, founds himself in his master’s library, while knowing, that he has left his lord to death a while ago.
  • Harvey MacGilleykalla has breakfast with his wife Fiona - who died a couple of years ago.
  • Those warp-backs into past turn out to be a time loop. As they return to reality, they leave the temple and head for the village of Welchbay.

This scene ended after like 60min

Revelation: The high priest

  • Harvey’s wife was, as written in his backstory, killed by bigfoot. As the loop restarts, he starts to force his wife away from leaving the house and kills her by accident. We interpreted this like this: Harvey really killed her and his mind made up the entire bigfoot story to keep Harvey sane.
  • Billy attempted to scare Mrs. Hollister in hope to gain some information about the ritual - but she didn’t have had any clue about her husband’s activities.
  • As the high priest pops up in the streets, Charles successfully killed him. After removing the mask, Billy recognized that it’s been Roger Fitzgerald Manisworth.

It’s been like 40-50 more minutes. Session end.

Resolution: In narration, things were cleared up:

  • Manisworth struggled for centuries to find a suitable vessel and finally made it: HE become the vessel by sacrificing Fensk.
  • After that, Yog-Sothoth was crossing our dimension a couple of times. Each time, the investigators were warped back/forth.
  • As Manisworth died by the hand of Charles, the connection between our dimension and Yog-Sothoth … the gate … was closed. Yog-Sothoth stopped crossing the dimension.
  • When the Edinburgh Police arrived (initially called for after the first murder in the village), they don’t believe the investigators. Instead, they’ll probably go into an asylum (they’re down to 1/10, 5/10 and 2/10 sanity at the end of the game).

Oh boy…

The campaign is done! We’ll be doing a couple of oneshots and will start our third fantasy campaign, continuing the story of The Shadow Realm. I’ll probably do a campaign diary on that if you’d like to read. Let me know in which way you’d like to read about it. Maybe it’s not worth the effort… you as the reader decide.



Here’s the full PDF: