[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. IV: Such is the way of Carcosa.

Your Prince is ecstatic to present you with another installment of actual play, Carcosa style. Today our merry band was joined by a new player, causing a great and wonderous shift in the dynamics of our stalwart circle of heroes. When we last left off our heroes had set out towards the village of the Purple Men, seeking a cure for the Sorceror Midros’s leprosy. As they set up camp to prepare for the long, cold darkness, they were met by two brothers, the charismatic Blue storyteller Remus and his brother, the warrior Rake, who had set out to travel to the village of the White men near the River’s edge in search of coin to win glory and women in their native village. After a brief but warm exchange of words, the two resolved to join our heroes in their noble endaevour to save the life of the Sorceror. Injured Sago was carried along with fallen Kakarot.

This endaevour was tragically cut short when our heroes met a fellow traveller on their road to the village the next day. The winged Hexapodal six-eyed horror met them cordially and pronounced its enthusiasm at meeting a fellow worshipper of Yog-Sothoth. It was also incredibly hungry. Midros was thrilled to meet a fellow servant of the Key and the Gate, and gladly offered its rations. The rest of our band of heroes discreetly ambled away as the two chortled mirthfully. Unfortunately the Creature only dined on human flesh. Midros dutifully offered the corpse of fallen Kakarot for the creature to dine on. It gratefully accepted and dined on his flesh, and promptly pronounced it was still hungry. Midros alleviated the creature’s worries by stating that he knew a place where many bodies were laid to rest, and that he was inedible because of leprosy. The creature, known as the Dweller on the Threshold and the Eater of Children, asserted that leprosy tenderised the meat, but that it was willing to fly Midros to the place where bodies were laid out for the taking. The rest observed his flight on the back of the horror to the fortress of the Jale men with mixed feelings.

Ah las, tragedy struck when the two arrived at the site of the great battle, and all the bodies had been removed! Midros, faced with an increasingly vexed and hungry Dweller, assured it that other bodies could be obtained from the fortress nearby, if it was willing to aid him. The creature responded indifferently, for such is the way of Carcosa, and lingered beyond arrow range while Midros confronted the fortress of angry Jale cannibals alone. Threatening to curse them if they would not submit, Midros was ill prepared to face down thirty angry Jale men hungry for vengeance. The chieftain of the Jale men did climb from the back of his retainer and promptly challenged him to single combat. Midros pronounced that all that would lay hands on him would suffer from not only leprosy, but also a dire curse. The credulous Jale men decided to pepper him with arrows instead. Faced with few other options,and already grievously wounded, Midros invoked dread Yog-sothoth and charged the chieftain, polearm in hand, wounding him in the side. The naked chieftain called off his men and leapt into the fray, wickedly curved machette swirling hypnotically and further injuring Midros. With no help from his recalcitrant companion, Midros did fall back and lift up his poleaxe for one last desperate stand as the chieftain followed him, his blood up and his eyes wide. A scratch was taken and a skull was split, and Midros did fall upon the schorched grassland and night fell across his eyes. No one would remember him.

Our heroes, oblivious and stoic, for such is the way of Carcosa, set out to meet the Purple Men and learn their ways of healing. To their dismay, they discovered that a quarter of the men had surgically amputated limbs. A great Steel daemon had come months ago and, after destroying all who resisted, arrived each week to claim another victim, working its techno-sorcery upon a single man and taking his right arm each week. Silved Tongued-Remus, who knew much of the hearts of men and women but not much of the ways of wisdom, assured them he was a renowned daemon-banisher and knew many daemon banishing songs that he was willing to share with them in exchange for food and shelter. The Chalice of Wisdom, in his infinite benevolence, decided he would stay to teach them and fight the daemon that was due to arrive two days hence. Our band of heroes was reluctant to accept this magnanamous offer, but the Purple men were adamant, a cyncial man would say murderously so. The offer of 500 pieces of gold did little to assuade their anxiety. The band also met Sayd, warrior-elite of the Red men of the South, on a quest to avenge his village by slaying the daemons that plague dread Carcosa. Just not this daemon. Not yet. They were dismayed to hear the daemon could restore any damage inflicted upon it, its teeth would explode with invisible killing rays and its flight was so rapid it would break the heavens with a thunderous roar. Trickery and shenanigans ensued as our heroes resolved to look at a damaged relic of the Creatures from beyond the Sky and indeed take it, stole the rope ladder to the sacrificial platform and snuck out in the middle of the night, murdering their guards with a combination of fake-diahrrea and sheer bloody-mindedness. The Nameless archer, Rake and the cunning Cannibal Kris resolved to stay behind and help themselves to the gold which was lightly guarded while the rest made its escape across the palisade wall using the rope ladder. This endeavour did not end well and the 3 barely escaped with grievous injuries, a great conflagaration and nary a handful of gold pieces to show for it. The weapon of the Creatures from beyond the Sky was taken but tragically unpowered. Such is the way of Carcosa.

Condemning the customs of the savage Purple men, our band set out for the village of the White men, discovering some obelisks of the extinct snake men along the way. The last sorceror, enigmatic Sago, gleaned from them a ritual to imprison the Colourless Ooze. While the band rested a transparent six-eyed allosaur sought to interrupt their reprieve, and much running away and hiding ensued. The venemous grasshopper-creature bonded to Sayd was forced to stay behind and serve as food and distraction, struggling vailaintly whilst the band departed, peppering the giant creature with arrows to no avail. Remus composed a mocking ballad in the honour of the loyal creature, to little comfort of Sayd.

Still poor, our heroes arrived at the village of the bearded White men, finding them rich in energy weapons but poor in hospitality. In dire need of sellswords, the White Men sought foreigners to join in a battle against the accursed Ulfire men from beyond the river for control of an iron pillar many metres high, for with it, they said, one could attain Immortality. Inqueries regarding the trustworthiness of the White Men directed at the magnanimous Black merchant Kalak revealed that mercenaries had been sent before, but none had returned, therefore there was no reason to distrust them. And much bargaining was done over coins, a jar of useless ointment and black and white lotus dust. In addition, it was revealed a vile creature, hated by even the Gods, lived near the village, was attracted by laughter and had slain several of the warriors of the white men.

A short negotiation with the contemptuous lord of the village, a sorcerer of not inconsiderable might, yielded a promised reward of 350 gp per person. A single white warrior, bereft of energy weapons, would be sent along with them. A case full of burning oil, several scale mail vests and two ulfire prisoners of the neighbouring tribe to serve as bait. As they departed with the two recalcitrant ulfire prisoners, both promised great rewards if they were brought to their village safely. Our party negotiated up to a thousand, called the White man and offered him water, and promptly knocked him out and tied him up, deciding to use him as bait to lure the creature.

As they all laughed, it emerged from its cavern near the river. Great tentacles, wreathed in acidic mucus, emerged from the cavern to grasp their erstwhile companion, bound and gagged though he was. Six eyes blacker then the night sky did fix dreamily upon the white man as he was fed, already dissolving, into its great lamprey-like orifice. There was a moment of silence whilst the digestive acids of the creature tore away at the White Man, exposing the tiny bundle of lotus dust hidden within his clothing. The moment stretched into an akward pause as the creature was entirely unaffected. Screaming, our band did throw from the heights a great boulder, a crate full of burning oil and hails upon hails of arrows. Though it floated up at them, contemptuous of terrestrial law, the sheer onslaught brough it low. A great wind emerged from nowhere, and all felt they had been blessed by the vile and unfathomable gods of Carcosa, for even they frowned upon the escapades of the nameless monster.

Such is the way of Carcosa.

Total Deaths: 7
[A] Rohnan (specialist 1) – Eaten by giant spiders
[B] Jaxxon Windwaker (ftr 1) – Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[C] Mongo the Red (Sor 1) – Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[B] Klak (spec 1) – Skull-crushed by animated Snake-men statue
[B] Crystal (ftr 1) – Drowned in Quicksand
[D] Kakarot (Sor 1) – Beheaded by Jale berserker
[A] Midros (Sor 1) – Skull split in single combat with Jale chieftain


2 thoughts on “[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. IV: Such is the way of Carcosa.

  1. I really think you and your group have captured the amoral Vancian vibe really well- it’s a party of Cugels meeting up with the even more sociopathic loons of the various villages they encounter. Is the storyteller a specialist, a fighter, or a sorceror?


    1. I am flattered, that is the vibe I am aiming for and it works really really really well so far. The storyteller is an old buddy of mine that was initially skeptical when he read part of the Carcosa rulebook. Needless to say, there was much enjoyment to be had during the session. The nihilism and horror of the setting should be mirrored in the people that inhabit it, and farce and sociopathy make great companions.

      Vance is awesome and his Cugel stories have left a permanent mark on all my gaming. I can think of few fantasy authors that have had a similar impact (maybe the holy trinity of Lovecraft/Smith/Howard).


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