Tag Archives: #cthulhu

A Fete worse than Death – Story Update 2

The Story So Far…
Arthur, the janitor arrives back at school refectory and meets Mr White and Mr Sanderson, who confides in the pair that “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.” The school seems to be roughly split between two camps; those that have had their 1to1s with the new Head and those that haven’t. The only notable exception appears to be Leaf Carterton, who’s acting his usual bullish self it seems.

After the lunch break, Marvin and Albus head for Ms Less and an uncertain future. It is Marvin’s time to meet the Head. Arthur is left to clear the Refectory, only to realise his son never came to claim his lunch pail.

The mystery doesn’t take long to resolve itself as Ian (or Indy as he’s known) runs across the auditorium, hotly pursued by a dripping wet teacher; some prank? The boy disappears, leaving his pursuer behind.

White and Woods, the school secretary, are in the outer office when the Head, seemingly aware of the situation with the boy’s trick, asks for his mother to be contacted. Sanderson’s meet and greet is cut short as Carterton pushes in. At the same time, the Sheriff is observed pulling in to the school grounds.

Some questions have arisen. What is happening (if anything!) to the teachers? Why can some not recall the recent Fete? How did the Head know something had happened to/with Indy?

Father Malcolm has a few hours to kill before his tea appointment with Ms Less at 4pm. He decides to spend this time reading Rudge’s History of the Town, particularly the Mythology chapter.

The Story continues…
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A Fete worse than Death – story update 1

The Story So Far…
Arthur, the janitor and Mr White, ex-acting head for Sunnyside School meet with Ms Less (“Ruth when we’re off duty”) the Ministry-approved new Head Mistress at the end of the school fete.

The new vicar, Father Malcolm comes at the tail end of the festivities, and Ms Less asks him to join her on stage and in prayer for the future of the school. Malcolm is only mildly dented by Arthur’s taunts over the violent deaths if his two predecessors. His faith, it seems, is rather strong.

After the short staff meeting the various teachers are left to enjoy their weekend, prepared for 1to1 meetings with their new boss on Monday. Some attempt to put it off, but most are scheduled by Mr White for their “15 minutes of fame” while Less asks Arthur to fit an old mirror, a family heirloom, in her office on Monday.

After a handy bit of handy work Arthur pops home as usual for a break with his wife. They discuss folk music and a sudden cheerfulness among the staff. The “new broom” is certainly sweeping clean! Addy asks him to deliver their son’s lunch, which doesn’t quite arrive at school intact.

Albus White oversees several staff come and go from their “meet and greets” with Ruth, also noticing a change in attitude and motivation among the staff, with the possible exception of the bully Leaf Carterton. Pursuing one or two leads, his suspicions are raised when people seem confused over the fete.

White and Arthur meet in the refectory, where Mr Sanderson approaches them with an observation that all is not right at Sunnyside School. Addy texts an odd story about the history of Sunnyside, but that hardly seems relevant right now. More important things are happening, but what they are seems vague.

Father Malcolm receives an invitation to tea from Ms Less, Monday at 4pm. However, as he spends the morning after a rather disappointingly quiet inaugural Sunday evening service the day before, he wanders the village square introducing himself.

Rudge, Sunnyside’s fourth oldest inhabitant (by all accounts) confronts him conspiratorially, but later regrets his rashness. Pursuing the fleeing pensioner, Malcolm is directed to “read up about the town.” He buys a copy of Rudge’s History of the Town from Mrs Spencer, the shop’s oddly prescient keeper, and sets off for his study at the chapel.

Pausing to admire (?) or worry about the curved steeple that only faith is keeping aloft (or so it seems…) Malcolm enters his office, thrusts partly written sermons aside, and proceeds to read about Sunnyside’s distant past.

The Story continues…
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Sunnyside Chronicle (Monday afternoon edition)

Redmore Killer Progress
It looks like Sheriff Jonah Johnson (44), who had postulated an absconded stranger as responsible for the gruesome death of Rev Redmore was both right and wrong. DNA evidence has come back from Innesmouth, showing that an outsider must have been responsible.
[BOX Loyal readers will recall a genetics survey most of the several hundred inhabitants took part in a few years ago. This was a result of Martha’s Vineyard screening to determine the high number of Deaf people in that insular community in the past; to the extent that ASL (American Sign Language) is their second language, even among hearing inhabitants. Our own genetic makeup, while split between the Pilgrim Fathers and native Massachuset, showed little of the lack of diversity of Martha’s Vineyard inhabitants. Something that still has genetic scientists baffled. Just goes to show, small is beautiful. BOX]

However, it appears that our murderer is possibly still in the area. Matching DNA and other evidence has been found in the woods near the old Canning Factory. Johnson has urged Sunnysiders to avoid the North side of the settlement, and to travel in small well armed groups.

“We’ve got it under control, and an arrest is imminent.” The Sheriff confirmed, “but please stay in your homes, the square or the chapel. Prayer at this time is vital in combating fear of this blood thirsty mad man.” He helpfully added. You heard it here first:

“Be afraid. Especially as the elections for sheriff are strangely imminent.”
New Broom Sweeps Clean
It is with fond thanks that we say goodbye to Sunnyside School’s interim acting head, Mr Albus Smith, upon the appointment of new Head Mistress, Ms. R. Less (34).

Mr Smith said “New brooms sweep clean. It will be good to return to teaching Chemistry.” His replacement, Ruth, gave us an exclusive interview today and expressed her deepest admiration for her predecessor. “He will be a hard act to follow,” she said, “We do, however, face great challenges in getting our children to the right level.”

It was clear to this reporter how passionate Less is in wanting to mould and shape the fate of our disaffected youth. Sunnyside has had its fair share of problems with juvenile delinquency. We say Ruth is a Weilcome addition to the Community’s attempts at dealing with this problem.

Tuesday Night Film Club
Night of the Demon – 1957 (B&W)
One for the horror fans. This is the restored UK release of the edited “Curse of the Demon” originally distributed in the US, but overshadowed by its more garish A feature, “Revenge of Frankenstein” (Younger readers may not be aware that films were often released in pairs, due to their relatively short length, while older movie fans may fondly recall the regular Intermissions during which the projectionist would change reels. Something gone now, in our time of DVDs and LCD projectors.) Although dubbed a B-Movie, Night has stood the test of time as a cult horror classic, with its ‘slowly turn the screw’ pacing.
Leave the kids with GrandMa for this one…

Sunnyside Fete
This Saturday sees a return of the Sunnyside School Fete, a weilcome diversion in recent troubled times.

The Sunnyside Fete has a long tradition, reaching back centuries, possibly pre-dating the town’s founding fathers. The settlement was an ancient centre of trade, being at the natural ford of the Manuxet River immortalised in Native American myth and legend.

While the fete’s return may not herald a weilcome turning point in the fortunes of this benighted town, it can be considered a glimpse of hope. It was cancelled 3 years ago as a mark of respect after the unexpected sad departure of the Rev. J.S. Samuels, who died of a sudden stroke on the eve of festivities.

We have Ruth Less (34), Sunnyside’s new Head Mistress, to thank for the weilcome resurrection of the Sunnyside Fete. “A fete is not worse than Death” she quipped to this reporter when I visited her recently.

Sunnyside Chronicle – Feb 13th 2001

Film Review – O Brother where art thou? (2000), Dir. Coen Brothers

Well, it’s taken a little while for a print to get to us, but this week Sunnyside will finally get the chance to view the box office smash hit. Since 1984, the “two headed director” have been making iconic movies, most notably the quirky uniqueness that is “Fargo”. What many residents will not know is that while the story is set in 1930s Minnesota, the brothers’ birthplace, it owes a great deal to our own state of Massachusetts.

The Coen Boys both graduated from Simon’s Rock College (now Bard College at Simon’s Rock) in the western part of MA. So how is far away Great Barrington connected to us. Well, it took this reporter some work, with gratitude to Granny Spencer, who “never forgets a thing” having “been here forever”.

In 1977, when the boys were both at Simon’s Rock, it seems they decided to cut a rug (so to speak), and bizarrely emulating the heroes of O Brother, hopped on a cross-State freight train bound for Innesmouth. The story goes that just past Ipswich a conductor found them hidden in a box car and “turfed the freeloaders out” while crossing the Manuxet River bridge.
Fortunately for them, and thousands of future devoted movie buffs, the Coens landed in the swollen river and survived the ‘fall’.

We tracked down the reluctant ex-conductor recently, who wished to remain anonymous, but did confirm he had “once given two youths a free flying lesson” and was “glad they hadn’t died”. He also expressed surprise when told they had landed in the flooding waters. “I hadn’t realised we were that far along the bridge.”

Somewhat the worse for wear, the pair washed up on our side of the torrent; those with long memories will recall we’d had bad rains for several weeks that season, with even the old salt works getting a soak, the river was so high. Jonah Johnson, was fishing that day and pulled the boys out, before bringing them up to the Doc’s House, suffering from shock and exposure.
Ethan was the worst of the two, raising a fearsome fever and unconscious for three days. In all they stayed in Sunnyside over a week till they were well enough to travel back to their college dorm after a quick check up at Ipswich General.

We contacted the Coen Brothers recently to congratulate them on their latest box office smash. Ethan told us that the whole idea for the movie came to him in a dream, while staying with us, though it was “mostly forgotten for over two decades.” Coen said for many years the idea of an homage to Homer’s Odyssey haunted him for being somehow incomplete, but all the songs seemed just right from the beginning. “Like they were meant to be.”

So, when you sit down in the Chapel Hall this week, and the good Reverend starts the projector, listen out for some local favorites in the musical soundtrack; even the name of our fair village is hidden in there, if you pay heed.
5*s – A must see for the whole family.

On the Sunnyside – a history of the town (part 2)

by Alexander Rudge PhD
(C) Rudge, Ipswich Press, 1978

Local Mythology

Moshup (also spelled Maushup, Maushop, and several other ways by different tribes, and sometimes referred to as a “transformer” by folklorists.) was an Indian Giant, who had lived in harmony with the People of the First Light to the South East, but had fallen out with them because they would not heed his warnings of the coming of pale evil. For details of how Moshup was asked to let the People fend for themselves and was turned into a white whale, see Appendix 2. For details on how Moshup the Giant warned the Wampanoag People to the South, then left them forever, see Appendix 3. NOTE: several conflicting accounts exist of Moshup’s fate after leaving the Wampanoag.

Moshup met Squant the Sea Woman, after defeating the man-eating Bird Demon. For details of how they came together, see Appendix 4. When he resisted her embrace and returned to his wife, he found that she was lying with the Bad Indian of the North. Enraged he returned to Squant’s embraces, not realising that his wife had been true to him, and had been forced to lie down.

Granny Squannit – Moshup’s wife even though, as leader of the magical woodland Little People (makiawisug), she married only to bring balance with the large and great beings her husband represented – came to Eagle Bay in search of her husband, fearing for him in his sadness at her shame. For details of Granny Squannit, see Appendix 5. When she found him in the embrace of Squant in a round cave of salt water she flew into a rage. her magical powers over the sea and with storms had often resulted in devastating weather caused by Squannit’s arguments with her husband. She stamped her tiny rabbit feet, leaving the shape of the bay delta seen today off the coast of Sunnyside, which caused the whole northern side of the land to rise like a ripple on a pond. It is said that the Manuxet River runs now where the shore line used to be; and, in deed the river does run remarkably parallel to the shore. The cave where Squant and Mashup lay sleeping was raised up above the sea, and Granny Squannit stamped her feet again to make the (Manuxet) river flow round, rather than into the basin, to deprive Squant of water so she would wrinkle and age in the Sun, and be beautiful no more. It is said that the unusual salt deposits found at the base of Sunnyside are all that remains of Squant’s sea spirit body.

When Squant felt the sea taken from her, she awoke and was angry. However, she had been nestling Moshup so he would not wake, so was too slow to escape. Squannit called to the local people, and told them to gather stone and special earth and bury Squant, so she would never escape. This punishment for her husband and his lover seemed good to the People, so they agreed to bring stone and special earth and built the mound upon them both. When Squant felt the special earth and stone placed upon her, she cried out a curse. One day a whale would come and walk the land, and fly in the wind, and would steal the fire from inside all that had laid a hand to burying her and Moshup, who kept sleeping, unaware of any of his wife’s revenge. And so it was that the People Who Live near the Great Hill (Massachuset) were burned and scattered as dust, and are no more.

For a list of other significant deities, see Appendix 6

Cluthulhu – A #OneGameAMonth game

Cluthulhu is a game for 2-7 players that uses an existing Cluedo board with some extra counters. Players have to escape from an unknown horror that has infected their country mansion. Think “The Blob” meets “The Thing” at Cthuhlu Manor

Cluthulhu requires:
1) A copy of Cluedo (or Clue, if you are from the Colonies), but you won’t be solving a murder, but fighting for your very lives! All the existing pieces of the game will be used. If you have the deluxe version of the game, with extra weapons or player characters that’s fine, but I will be assuming you have the more commonly available basic set.
2) A good few dozen green counters, cubes or meeples, small enough to fit on each square of the board; technically the board is 24×24 squares, but rooms are not divided up in an unmodified board. Ideally, twelve counters per player should be sufficient, but you can probably work with 6-8 per player.
3) An extra die as 2D6 are required; technically 1D6-1D6 to be exact, giving a range of movement from 0-5; the lower die is subtracted from the higher.
4) (Optional) A thin permanent marker and a ruler or straight edge.

Instructions for modification of the basic game.
The first thing to do is decide if you don’t mind changing your board; this won’t prevent you from playing the original game. While this isn’t strictly necessary, it will enhance the playing experience greatly by allowing for player movement inside rooms to be fairer. In the original Cluedo game, movement inside rooms is rather like teleportation, with the entire room space being a single move (which is daft really). If you are happy writing on your board, you should use a ruler to extend the existing lines for the corridor squares carefully across into the room spaces. I personally wouldn’t draw over the walls. However, using a thin permanent marker will allow rooms to be broken into squares, just like the hallways. Remember, although it’s recommended to use a permanent marker, if you mess up you can probably clean up any flaws with solvent, provided you have not pressed too hard and make corrections quickly. Making these changes does not ‘break’ the original Cluedo game, provided that players remember that movement costs are not relevant for room spaces, even though this is weird; this might explain the location of doors in Cluedo rooms, which otherwise makes little sense. If you don’t want to mark the board, then so long as the alien (yes, Alien!) jumps across rooms from door to door as well, we’re all good. No further physical modification is necessary.
Modified Cluep Board
Modified Cluthulhu Board
Set up for Cluthulhu
Firstly, sort the weapon, location and people cards into separate piles. Shuffle each pile and deal out face down in a line the weapon cards, then deal on top of them enough of the location cards to give each a location. These pairs are then turned over to determine which random weapon is in which random location. Place the relevant counter/marker for each weapon in the relevant room. Then take back the location card and shuffle the full deck again. Deal out all the player character cards and, again, lay out locations on each. This will randomly locate all the player counters (Col. Mustard for example). All player counters are to be used, no matter how many players are taking part; human players will play any and all the characters anyway. Finally, take one of the unused location cards at random. (Alternatively, allow the player playing the Alien (Yes, Alien!) to choose from an unoccupied room; this option should not include rooms with weapons.) This is where the Alien (Yes, Alien!) will start spawning. Place one counter anywhere in the room. Finally, the Alien (Yes, Alien!) secretly chooses one of the player character cards. This will be the secretly infected human. If they escape successfully, then Humanity is DOOOoooMED! Initial Alien Spawning
Beginning in the ro

On the Sunnyside – A history of the town

by Alexander Rudge PhD
(C) Rudge, Ipswich Press, 1978

In Essex County, Massachusetts, in land and up the coast from Innsmouth with a commanding view of Cape Ann and Falcon Point to the East. The town of Ipswich, Massachusetts is geographically nearer, but restrictive local geography (notably the Manuxet River, which forms a loop around the settlement) and the absence of decent highways makes road transport only possible via Innsmouth. Access by sea is possible to the North via a small inlet in the South West of Plum Island Sound, which still shows evidence of the original fishing settlement from which Sunnyside owes its origins. A natural ford across the Manuxet historically linked this important fishing harbour with what was to become Ipswich, but there is no explanation as to why forest trails never developed into more traditional roadways, as one would have expected, although it is apparent that bridges and viaducts would have made such connections costly. This might also explain the lack of rail links to the village. Forestry on the banks of the river near Sunnyside are remarkably well preserved, with many sections being what arboriculturists describe as ‘primary’; essentially an unchanged and undisturbed botanical ecosystem.
Unlike its neighbours, Sunnyside is rather cramped in construction, space being constrained by the river bend and encroaching forest. It should be a quiet hamlet, but shows a dearth of vitality that a semi-rural setting should exhibit. The church steeple looms ominously to the northern, seaward horizon, and the communal clock has not worked for 60 years. The predominent architecture of aged gambrel roofs and peaked gables matches that of nearby Innsmouth, but is better preserved, due to less salty air. two notable Georgian exceptions are the village school and the combined Town Hall and Jailhouse, with square hipped roofs, cupolas, and excellent examples of rooftop “widow’s walks”, which dominate the central square.

On the northern shore only the ruins of wharves remain, along with a now derelict canning factory, to provide evidence of Sunnyside’s former major industry of preserved fish, which died out in the last century when the local salt mines gave out. It is hard to envisage what economic miracle could bring round this sad, quaint habitat, with many young families understandably leaving for the more affluent nearby conurbations.

Sunnyside was founded in 1646, noted for fishing and meat preserving before the Revolution, bit was only mildly prosperous in the early nineteenth century as a minor factory centre, due to the local supply of salt. The loss of salt production due to sabotage during the War of 1812 caused the town’s profitable trade to dwindle in a surprising parallel with its neighbour Innsmouth, which had provided ships and tackle. By 1828, only the White family fleet was still operating, but canning was relocated further down the coast, but even this remnant of “honest trade” was devastated in 1840 when Innsmouth demonstrated an unprecedented upsurge in its own burgeoning fishing industry; commanded over by the Marsh Family, of long good standing in that parish.

It could be speculated that had the White’s weathered the financial storm, when Innsmouth was devastated by plague in 1846, their fortunes could have rallied. Sadly, however, this ill wind arrived too late to save the village. The White Family are still present in the village, but are no longer affluent.

In the Prohibition Era, Sunnyside was regularly suspected of providing local bootleggers with AppleJack – freeze distilled cider-based hard liquor – but no significant arrests were ever made. it is likely that such illegal activity, rather than the prosperous orchards, might be responsible for the continued existence of the village.

Sunnyside Chronicle (Saturday morning Edition)

Redmore Killer still at large
Sheriff Jonah Johnson (44) repeated assurances that the killer of Rev Redmore was “almost certainly a stranger to our community who has likely already absconded.”

The crime, a most vicious and unprovoked attack in his home two weeks ago, appears to have been an opportunistic robbery gone horribly wrong. “There were signs of several struggles” Johnson confirmed, “but DNA samples sent off to Innsmouth a fortnight ago have been inconclusive.”

Sunnyside Fete
This Saturday sees a return of the Sunnyside School Fete, a welcome diversion in recent troubled times.

The Sunnyside Fete has a long tradition, reaching back centuries, possibly pre-dating the town’s founding fathers. The settlement was an ancient centre of trade, being at the natural ford of the Manuxet River immortalised in Native American myth and legend.

While the fete’s return may not herald a welcome turning point in the fortunes of this benighted town, it can be considered a glimpse of hope. It was cancelled 3 years ago as a mark of respect after the unexpected sad departure of the Rev. J.S. Samuels, who died of a sudden stroke on the eve of festivities.

Since then, the interim acting head, Mr Albus Smith, didn’t feel it appropriate to reinstate the proceedings. When asked about its return to Sunnyside’s rather sparse social calendar, Mr Smith referred us to the Board of Governors. “New brooms sweep clean. It will be good to return to teaching Chemistry.”

Albus was, no doubt, referring to news that he will be stepping down as acting head, to be replaced by a ‘Ministey approved’ external candidate, Ruth Less (34), who this reporter has confirmed as being responsible for the welcome resurrection of the Sunnyside Fete. “A fete is not worse than Death” she is reported to have quipped to the Board and local Councillors recently.

Reverend Charles Redmore (67)
It is wrong to speak ill of the dead. A line we will all have heard often over the last few decades that our faithful vicar presided over funerals in Sunnyside. Redmore had an infinite capacity to see the Good side in all of us. This, more than the stirring sermons spoken to far too few, will most be missed.

Charles – Redmore disliked formality and titles – was the pinnacle of ‘good shepherd’. Perhaps it was this that was his downfall. A violent attack in his own home has shaken the faith of this reporter, as well as the whole town. The ongoing police investigation has done little to settle a troubled parish, although the Sheriff remains cautiously optimistic of a conviction.

Redmore was not liked, but he was respected. His resignation from the Board of Governors of Sunnyside Primary over ‘differences in direction’, including appointing an external candidate as Head Teacher, caused much controversy. The vicar’s regular outspoken defence of the Youth of the town was often cited as divisive, splitting Sunnyside in two as to how to deal with its very real social problems.

Father Redmore leaves behind a troubled town, no less so because of the manner of his sudden departure. His replacement, Father Malcolm Malcolm, will begin this week. Let us hope he has more imagination than his parents naming ability.