‘The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man’ – Actual Play in Inverness: The Dreamers

Sense-of-the-Sleight-of-Hand-Man-cover-620pxIn June 2013 I began running The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man, our new Call of Cthulhu campaign set in H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, for my local gaming group in Inverness, Alabama. I’m keeping an Actual Play journal of the campaign. Here are the game stats (updated as we go) and histories of the player characters.

Owen Banks

Adventure novelist in an adventure hero’s body, age 24

STR 15, CON 13, SIZ 15, INT 15, POW 15
DEX 15, APP 10, EDU 13, SAN 52, HP 14
Damage Bonus: +1D4
Skills: Climb 44%, Cthulhu Mythos 6%, First Aid 40%, Library Use 40%, Listen 44%, Navigate 55%, Occult 40%, Persuade 55%, Psychology 45%, Spot Hidden 60%, Throw 60%.
Languages: English (Own) 65%, Chinese 36%, French 36%
Attacks: Dagger 25%, damage 1D4+2+db
Makeshift wooden spear 45%, damage 1D6+db
Other Weapon Skills: Handgun 35%, Rifle 60%
Insanities: Drug addiction.

Owen Banks’ Earthly body age 26
STR 8, CON 12, SIZ 13, INT 15, POW 15
DEX 13, APP 13, EDU 13, HP 13
Damage Bonus: none

Owen Banks came from Ohio but lived over the few years of his adulthood in France, Hong Kong and most recently New York City. His mother and father still live in Ohio, as does an old flame.

Banks joined the French army during the Great War and was injured by mustard gas, which left him weakened for life. He came home long enough to earn a degree in psychology as he slowly recuperated. He moved back to Paris to study under Dr. Arnold, famous for his work in psychotherapy and pharmacology. In France, Banks returned to the opium that had given him some relief during the war and soon was an addict. He moved to Prague, then Hong Kong, where he began earning a living as an adventure novelist but using drugs ever more deeply. He got into a bit of trouble in Hong Kong and fled to New York. He got in even worse trouble there.

In the Dreamlands, Owen is a large, scruffy brute who looks like he’s of Scythian or northern Greek descent.

Richard Parker

Author of travel and occult books, presently age 35

STR 14, CON 14, SIZ 18, INT 15, POW 18
DEX 11, APP 11, EDU 16, SAN 72, HP 16
Damage Bonus: +1D4
Skills: Cthulhu Mythos 10%, Disguise 61%, First Aid 35%, Library Use 75%, Listen 45%, Occult 65%, Speak English (Native) 80%, Speak German 41%, Speak Latin 41%, Persuade 35%, Pharmacy 41%, Psychology 65%, Sneak 60%, Spot Hidden 65%.
Attacks: Rapier 26% (+10%), damage 1D6+1+db
Insanities: Drug addiction.

Richard Parker’s Earthly body, age 31
STR 7, CON 12, SIZ 13, INT 15, POW 18
DEX 10, APP 14, EDU 16, HP 13
Damage Bonus: none

A New York native, Parker was a journalist during the Great War and became a occult and travel writer afterward. After he began writing occult books he read too deeply into the dreaded Necronomicon at Miskatonic University, and he took to using opium and morphine more and more heavily to steady his rattled nerves. His wife left him when his drug abuse became severe.

In the Dreamlands Parker is enormously hulking and powerful with a long, straight ponytail. Despite his size and strength he still has the reticence and ingrained terror that he learned as a frail New York intellectual.

Sam Ford

Private eye turned adventurer, age 30

STR 17, CON 14, SIZ 13, INT 13, POW 18
DEX 20, APP 11, EDU 17, SAN 68, HP 14
Damage Bonus: +1D4
Skills: Bargan 45%, Climb 50%, Cthulhu Mythos 1%, Dodge 85%, Fast Talk 55%, Law 30%, Library Use 60%, Listen 53%, Locksmith 41%, Martial Arts 61%, Psychology 45%, Sneak 44%, Spot Hidden 72%.
Languages: English (Own) 85%.
Attacks: Fist 72%, damage 1D3+db
Grapple 45%
Other Weapon Skills: Handgun 40%
Insanities: Drug addiction.

Sam Ford’s Earthly body, age 27
STR 12, CON 14, SIZ 12, INT 13, POW 18
DEX 15, APP 13, EDU 17, HP 13
Damage Bonus: none

Sam Ford is a New York native. He served in Army intelligence during the Great War, earned a law degree afterward, and began earning a living as a freelance private investigator. He is a loner, distant even from family and with no real friends; he’d seen the dirty underside of the city and it left its mark. He began using morphine after a bad accident nearly left him crippled. A dedicated boxer and runner, he recovered from the injury but kept the addiction.

In the Dreamlands Sam appears to be of central Asian descent, perhaps Uzbek. He is pale and fair, nearly albino, powerfully muscular and supernally quick and athletic.

Elissa Von Dale

Off-off-off-off Broadway singer, age 26

STR 15, CON 14, SIZ 14, INT 10, POW 17
DEX 14, APP 18, EDU 11, SAN 61, HP 14
Damage Bonus: +1D4
Skills: Art (Singing) 75%, Conceal 25%, Cthulhu Mythos 6%, Dodge 78%, Fast Talk 75%, First Aid 35%, Listen 85%, Navigate 15%, Sneak 40%, Spot Hidden 30%, Swim 35%, Throw 38%.
Languages: English (Own) 55%, Chinese (Cantonese) 21%, German 21%.
Attacks: Fist 51%, damage 1D3+db
Saber 34%, damage 1D8+1+db
Insanities: Drug addiction.

Elissa Von Dale’s Earthly body, age 26
STR 11 CON 12 SIZ 11 INT 10 POW 17
DEX 14 APP 17 EDU 11 SAN 70 HP 12
Damage Bonus: none

Elissa left her parents and two sisters behind in Oklahoma to pursue her dreams as a singer, and all of them continue to disapprove of her scandalous lifestyle. They would disapprove more if they knew how thoroughly she became hooked on heroin on the stages of New York City. On Earth she was dark-haired and pretty in a distracted way, with fancy clothes that were nearly worn out and small burn scars on her hands.

In the Dreamlands she is a powerful, statuesque beauty with Mediterranean coloring and dark blond hair.