Stories from the Time of the Cultists’ Storm
These stories are connected to the places, events and characters of the game; sometimes very tightly, sometimes more loosely. Our aim is to create a backstory of literary depth and also to further enrich Lovecraft’s literary heritage.
Introductory short story: The window into infinity
A terrible creature scratches a bloodcurdlingly accurate map of the cult places of ancient times into the window glass of an Arkham appartment. It marks places where today great cities stand such as Kingsport, Innsmouth or Salem. When the horrible piece is finished, the map comes to life and a portal opens into an unknown dimension, the slumbering gods of endless eons call their followers to themselves and thus the storm of cultists begins…
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The blurbs of the short stories in the collection
During the pre-campaign and the Kickstarter campaign we are going to continuously upload the short blurbs from our short story collection, Cultistorm: A storm of cultists.
Rorschach tests hide more horrendous secrets than the darkest thoughts of their research subjects. Mr. Matchinski, a journalist of the Chicago Tribune hurries home to Arkham after he received a peculiar letter from his brother. Time in his childhood town seems to have stopped; he even has the feeling that it flows backwards. The journalist learns that his brother is treated in the mental ward of the hospital where he used to work as a doctor. While Mr. Matchinski tries to unravel the events of the past weeks, he has to realise that the Rorschach tests his brother had been studying not only allow a glimpse into the psychological state of patients, but they also open a gate to another world.
Mr. Matchinski appears in Cultistorm as an investigator, while the short story provides players with a background to one of the expansions.
On 11th December, 1922 Alice Townsend escaped Arkham Sanitarium under unexplainable circumstances. We have little information about the woman who worked as a schoolteacher in Salem. The only thing we know is that she was thinly built, had bright red hair and she was treated in the institute because of her deranged mind. It is these physical and mental attributes that makes it unimaginable that she managed escaping all alone. Therefore the police suspects that she had accomplices whose identity is unknown, but who can nonetheless be dangerous. None of the local newspapers talk about the most horrifying detail, thus trying to avoid mass panic. The remnants of the blood-curdling nocturnal massacre were only seen by the institute employees and the police officers; they were the only ones to witness the horror of the indescribably mutilated bodies which once were the nurses and doctors of the institute. The heavy gates of the asylum were broken open with a huge force and the corridor leading to Alice Townsend’s first floor room was lined with corpses of massacred asylum employees, bearing the signs of cuts and stabs, their face frozen into unearthly horror. Their blood dyed the cold stone floor and the stairs red. The only footprint they found was that of small female feet which lead right to the gate. The case of Alice Townsend was most shocking because up until the fatal Arkham incident she showed no sign of madness. She wasn’t known to have sudden outbursts of anger or hysterical fits, those close to her described her as a calm, quiet woman.
The story of Alice Townsend will appear in the Storm of Cultists expansion, where the players will have a chance to stop the rage of madness that had swallowed her.
It was his uncle’s death that brought Arthur Lockhard Blackwood to Salem, his hometown still bearing the cursed heritage of ancient witch cults. James T. Blackwood took his own life and was most probably chased to death by the unspeakable secrets he encountered during his mystical travels and which found him in this superstition-filled place. It might have been the relic of unknown origin he found during the excavations in Yemen or the dark power of ragged figures gathering in the Salem nights that summoned Shub-Niggurath on that stormy night. It is of course also conceivable that it was just some mad nightmare that appeared tangibly real, but when the boundaries between reality and dreams irrevocably collapse and he is trapped in the Blackwood house, Arthur hears his dead uncle’s shuffling footsteps.
Shub-Niggurath is a Great Old One summoned by the cultists of the Salem witch cult, the story allows the players to glimpse the consequences of the meeting.
The Broken Amulet
Two childhood friends, who used to share a strange amulet, meet again many years later in the forgotten, ancient graveyard of Kingsport. The fates of the folklorist and the mathematician are connected again by that indescribable dark secret reaching for them from the past of the city. The peculiar shards upset space and time and the friends escape through older and older layers of the city’s past, running from the living nightmare burning up their sanity.
This story is about the history and power of amulets. It helps us understand this “weapon” with the help of which we can fight the cultists.
An expert of symbols tries to use the science of geometry to figure out the secret of the dark symbols that seem to be spreading since the appearance of cultists. In the beginning he is only fuelled by his own professional ambition, but soon his work is noticed by the investigating authority and they ask for his help in the search after mysterious sects and unexplainable phenomena. He sets out to discover the horrible locations, surrounded by investigators and with his assistant by his side. In the meantime, however, the distorted shapes of the symbols start to distort his personality too. First he tries to make the amulet work in the grey town of Innsmouth, in a derelict house infested by what seems to be unnatural fungi. He doesn’t succeed. A nameless myst descended upon the surroundings of Arkham and it changed the laws of nature; the unknown horror declared itself. Some people disappeared forever. Some people went mad and they are locked up in the asylum of Arkham mumbling about their nightmares to this day. And there were people whose distorted life finally lost hope. Secrets stayed secrets because there are certain things which are better left undisturbed.
In Krisztina’s short story we get to know one of the investigators, a Great Old One appears and we catch a glimpse into the supernatural power of the symbols used in the fight against the cultists.
Days of Madness
It was Robert S. Kleiman who opened the gate towards the distant, ancient words, which were at the same time insanely attractive and torturous, thus he unleashed the storm of cultists on Arkham. He wrote his painful memoir before stepping through the window into infinity to disappear into the unknown and unexplainable. This is his story from a different angle: it is told by Mrs. Emma Howkins, the elderly landlady who had lost her husband as a result of similarly unexplainable events when she was young. She couldn’t resist the temptation to venture through the gate that opened in the room of her lodger to go to a place that would change the fate of insignificant humans longing for infinity.
Linnea Arc, a young folklorist follows the traces of an ancient witch cult to rid the past of its mystical shadows with the help of a scientific treatise. From the 17th century to our days, the testimony of eyewitnesses always mention the appearance of the same black cloaked figure who unleashes terror on Salem every ten years. Naturally these stories are just the ignorant phantasmagoria of superstitious people. As Linnea is less and less able to resist the calling of Gallows Hill, her childhood scar starts to burn her arm, cattle dies in unexplainable ways on the surrounding farms and Salem’s inhabitants feel that the one wearing a silver pin on his hat walks among them once more…
This story is linked to one of the Terror cards; if it’s activated, spiralling pain and madness is unleashed on the investigators.
The Gate of Kingsport
An abandoned, ancient church stands in Kingsport. An even more ancient, mysterious cave opens from the church. The cave leads to a gate that opens to another world. The gate wants him dead. The scaly ones smelling of fish want him dead. The gate is beautiful. The gate is calling. The gate is swallowing you. You have to serve the thing beyond the gate. The one who crosses through the gate is unstoppable. One wants to cross it, even at the cost of his life. The other one wants to close it, even at the cost of his life. Both of them pay the price.
The players have to close the dimension gates opening in Kingsport if they want to keep the world from being swallowed by horrors. This story is about a hero who also tried to do it, but didn’t succeed.
The late John Pearlson and his loyal partner served in the police department of New England for thirty long years; now one of them is dead and the other will never be the man he once was. The tile mosaic they find in the ghetto at the outskirts of the city seals the fate of the two policemen forever; they are forbidden to continue their investigation, yet they cannot rest until they discover the secret of the mosaic. Following the members of an unknown sect, they find a strange lake hiding in the middle of the Kingsport forest, but they cannot overcome what they meet there.
Stephen Dawson is one of the investigators in Cultistorm and this is his story.
The Children of Dunwich
Years have gone by since the famed 1928 Dunwich horror, when the geography professor of Miskatonic University arrives in town to find answers to the terrible questions tormenting his soul and his scientific curiosity. His research yields an unexpected result: he realises that in three years the whole population of Dunwich has changed. The descendants of the founding families have either moved away or died in unclear circumstances. New inhabitants arrived, from god knows where, and they claimed the deserted houses and streets. The horror creeps out from the walls, fear saturates you and takes you under. The children of Dunwich become a distorted version of themselves as they writhe in an ecstasy that opens endless seas of stars, until enlightenment and rebirth comes.
The children of Dunwich is a special cultist cast belonging to the base game of Cultistorm; the players will need to face them sooner or later.
This was the last mission of Jane Carternek, the young and ambitious investigator. Since then she left the agency, changed her name and started a new life. Although she was used to the unexplainable and the horror, she couldn’t cope when it happened to her. During her research in the library of the Miskatonic University, she finds a strange partner. He was very helpful at first, directing Jane towards discovering the key to the tormenting secrets, however when the strange signs started appearing on Jane’s body, the man disappeared without a trace, leaving only agonising fits and nightmare-ridden, empty days in his wake. There was also the strange note, Jane found among the pages of an ancient tome in the library, giving instructions to the creation of a strange object. In the description, Jane also discovered the unsettling symbols appearing on her body. While her fellow investigators tried to round up the members of a strange cult, the maniac scientists of the Agency built the horrible machine described in the notes, as the captain said shrugging: for the greater good. Jane, however, couldn’t take it anymore, because there are means that can’t be justified even by the most noble of ends.
Jane Carter is one of the investigators working for the agency in the game. This story is the memento of her last mission.
Tony Russo police lieutenant sets out to find his lost brother who worked, also as a detective, on the investigation concerning the unexplainable events that transpired in Innsmouth. The younger brother seemed to have been caught up in some serious trouble; according to the charges he helped the escape of highly dangerous criminals before his disappearance. However, it is not only Tony and the police who are looking for the leader of the Innsmouth underworld: the members of a hitherto unknown cult as well. The trigger of events is human greed, the final aim is the promise of immortality, the long road between the two that leads to horrifying realisations is haunted by finned and scaled figures bearing the lingering smell of fish.
Tony Russo is one of the investigators in the game – this is his story.
The mysterious client of Bobby Morten
Bobby Morten was a real adventurer, brave and daring. For a long time he and his girlfriend earned their living with scams, swindling and smuggling alcohol. One day their luck left them, they had to flee and leave their old home behind, that’s how they ended up in Arkham, Massachusetts. Their new life started out full of hope, but their spirit so used to adventures soon got bored of the drab ways of everydays. Drink and jadedness soon jeopardised their bright future. Bobby is only a shadow of his old self until the day he met someone who gave him a mysterious mission. The change was incredible: Bobby sobered up and became dedicated and workaholic, however he kept the reason of his feverish nocturnal activities his most guarded secrets. As days and weeks went by, Bobby Morten’s personality changed completely, so much so that the woman who once loved him with all her heart found nothing in him from her old sweetheart.
This is the back story of Serena Higgins who came to face the existence of the horror beyond human existence when she lost the love of her life. The members of the Agency freed her from the clutches of an unknown sect after months of captivity. She joins the investigators, not giving up hope that by hunting down the cults of madness, she would find her Bobby again.
MORE BLURBS ARE COMING SOON!