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[We should all Listen to] The Magnus Archives

beachnik

Man of Action!
Validated User
As someone who's getting closer and closer to the current series, where the excrement is definitely striking the rotary cooling device, it's nice to be able to look back at the synopsis and look at some fairly masterful long term plot planning.
 

Sabermane

Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
Validated User
Internet should be functional tomorrow night. This will continue...
 

Sabermane

Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
Validated User
Ugh, finally.

EPISODE 54: STILL LIFE
Case: 0132306
Statement of: Alexander Scaplehorn, regarding his evaluation of the “Trophy Room Taxidermist” in Barnett
Date of Recording: June 23, 2013
Recorded by: Jonathan Simms

Alexander doesn’t try not to judge by appearances. In part because he’s a bit homely, but also because he works for Inland Revenue--that’s the tax man to us Americans, which makes him unpopular wherever he goes. So it was with an “aggressively open mind” that he went to review the Trophy Room Taxidermist. The shop was up to date on it’s taxes and had been open for over 30 years, but it was also running in the black solely due to occasional large and overly expensive purchases--signs of possible money laundering. Not evil monsters or anything, just possible tax problems.

So Alexander shows up, and knows it’s going to take a while. The shop was aged and old, with a stuffed tiger in the front that was aged but...weirdly lifelike. A young man let him in, a twenty-something chain smoker owner named Daniel Rawlings. Apparently the shop had been owned by a friend of the family, and somehow he had inherited it.

The smell hit Alexander--a strong sense of rotting lillies, which might explain why Daniel is a smoker. As Alexander looks around and realizes he’s in a large room filled with dead animals staring at him with cold undying eyes, each frozen in time with all their strange flesh...so Alexander realizes that yes this is creepy but hey--don’t judge by appearances. Keep that screaming voice in your head down…

Alexander was expected, and Daniel showed him the letter and the records for the shop. Alexander dives into explaining tax law to Daniel, who seems to actually be interested (see?! He’s not human, Alexander!! Run!!!). He asked the right questions and seemed to keep up. A real pleasure to talk money laundering with...other than his habits of smoking constantly and not making eye contact. Oh well, Alexander has a cousin whose on the spectrum so…

At the end of it, Daniel says he’s going to implement a number of (overly strong in Alexander’s opinion) policies, and Alexander gets into the books in a small, clean office. The office had a room into a workshop and a large oak desk, and a number of much older animal skins--some very old ones, and an ancient white rabbit wearing a hat and coat. Because that’s funny.

The good news is, the books look clean. Four customers came in during the long day, and each one got rattled and left. By closing time, Daniel came in to check up, and asked Alexander if he knew how honored he was, since Alexander was in the very room as some of the oldest skin in the world.

...ok. So now we’re in trouble.

Buffalo skin from the Americas. A jaguar pelt. Wolf from the middle ages. The hare was from the Great Exhibition of 1851. Finally, the oldest--gorilla form Carthage, possibly the oldest piece of taxedermy in the world.

Alexander assumes that Daniel is pulling his leg, when the bell rang and two obnoxious Cockney voices (neeeigh! Lightening!!) called for Daniel, who promptly heads to meet them in the front. Alexander hears something about “a van”, and then they all left.

Alexander was alone in the office now. As he was finishing his paperwork, he hears muffled speaking from...the floor? There’s a small door he hadn’t noticed before, heading down to the basement. He knew he shouldn’t open the basement door, but...he couldn’t resist.

He opened the door. A flight of stairs, but no lightswitch. And a face. Pale and swaying, staring at him, speaking to him.

“we’ve got one down here. come on, i’ll show you.”

Now Alexander is positive that’s not human, and it’s not talking like a human. So he knows this is wrong. He tried to call out, but the face went back into the basement’s darkness.

“we’ve got one down here. come on, i’ll show you.”

Well that’s enough for Alexander--he tries to leave adn Daniel’s there, smiling a not-so-friendly smile, asking if he’s allright. And finally, Daniel is making eye contact so Alexander can see the glassy stare. When all the dead animals began to move, Alexander almost lost his mind, and he knows if he had, he would be dead or worse.

Lucky for him, he’s instead able to bolt past Daniel, running past the two Cockney movers, and ran for an hour. Alexander was lucky--he even grabbed his notes, so he could write a glowing report and never worry about it again. After all, they weren’t laundering money.

POST STATEMENT
The Trophy Room is still operational, still owned by Daniel Rawlings. This is...unique, since it was a thing they could actually investigate. Sasha finally volunteered to go look, but was able to verify that there was nothing weird going on there. Daniel also verified that he was not the same Daniel Rawlings that disappeared back in Episode 1--he looks entirely different, except for...they have the same hair.

SUPPLEMENTAL
Simms has found out that Gertrude still had a flat in her name, and broke into it. He found first Gertrude lived a minimal existence. No TV, a tea kettle, a single mug. A number of books on history. No TV. She also had a laptop charger, which means there might be a computer out there!

Oh, and the books in her collection were very well taken care of. Except those with a face on the cover. In those instances, Gertrude had very carefully removed the eyes from the picture. So yeah, completely sane.

PERSONAL NOTES
Yeah, sure Not-Sasha--tell us that we don’t have anything weird going on there!! I can only imagine the two of the Not-Them laughing and laughing. So we find out that the Not-Them are not just smokers, but also collectors of dead flesh. Also mannequins. Seems appropriate.

This one for some reason I always picture as a Mike Mignola comic. I also really enjoy the idea of the World's Oldest taxidermy sample--like, we always remember ancient books and old statues, but there's plenty of artifacts that you could use for terrible cults and ancient horrors, and the disturbing elements of taxidermy help add a bit of "ew" to it.
 

Sabermane

Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
Validated User
EPISODE 55: PEST CONTROL
Case: 0160311
Statement of: Jordan Kennedy, regarding several weird things he found while working in pest control.
Date of record: November 3, 2016
Date of Event 2011, 2014?
Recorded by Jonathan Simms & Jordan Kennedy

Simms is asking someone to say something again so it’s on tape; Jane Prentice is dead. Dead dead. No worms escaping the body, no evil shades, just...a smell. Turns out Jordan assisted with the incineration of poor Jane. but why is he recording a statement now?

Well, he was also involved with removing the wasps nest from her house. And he’s been putting some things together…so now he’s here.

Jordan used to be an exterminator for over 10 years. He did a lot of big commercial buildings mainly, but sometimes a few smaller houses, and handles everything from cockroaches to birds to wasps nests. Well, back in 2011 he got a report about ants. A little rundown suburban home that looked like no one had been there. The call had come from a Laura Star who told the extermination company to just “let themselves in’. He knocked, and realized that there was an...oily residue on the house. Good thing he’s wearing gloves. Jordan still can’t hear anybody inside, and as he goes in, the place is empty, but there’s a sense of movement--no furntiutre, no lights. He found the lightswtich, and--so very many ants. All over everything. Even the lightbulb. Whever there weren’t ants, there was an oily goo, and he felt the house was...sick.

Jordan goes back to the van, realizes that “a bit of bait” isn’t going to cut it. Jordan, with supernatural Willpower or “No, Seriously, I AM A PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONAL” on his character sheet, grabs some spray and heads back--already noting that the ants are starting to pour out of the door and onto the sidewalk…

He sprayed them, but...none of the ants didn’t seem to die. Oh, they fled from the spray, walking through a path he made. Then he made it to the kitchen, where everything including the kitchen sink was gone. Except an old yellowed fridge, black ants swaming from it’s pulsing frame.

Don’t open the door, Jordan.

He left the house, decided to have a smoke before he hits the main boss. As he does, a small car with new plates and old rust pulls into the driveway. A tall man, six feet in a giant brown suit, comes out and angrilly asks him what he’s doing here. Jordan tells him, and the man demands he leave, and then the man grabbed Jordan by the throat and lifted him with inhuman strength and incredible heat. Jordan flailed, and improves an attack with his lighter. Just trying to cause the man some pain so he drops Jordan.

No, not like that, sir--don’t catch on fire so suddenly and so fast! Jordan bailed, running quickly to his van, and as he ran he smelled--it. A scent of sickness, roadkill, disease, and decay. Jordan ran, didn’t call the cops, but the cops never called him.

So the second time he smelled that was...well, there was Jane Prentice, but there was also the call for a “wasp’s nest”. No other details, but Jordan knows it was Jane’s now.

Jordan’s service was the only one who showed up for an emergency service. Jordan suited up, and met the landlord Arthur Nolan, a short man with a cigar and thinning white hair. Arthur was unimpressed but pointed up to flat 4. If you need anything, Arthur’s in Flat 1. Yeah yeah, chemical warnings an dangers to other tennants--Flat 1. Go do your job. Everyone else is gone.

It was very quiet in flat 4--not even the buzzing of wasps. No sign of wasps, actually--but books and clothes are scattered and a shattered TV--you know, like wasps do. Jordan found the access to the attic, and climbed up. Still no wasps, but it’s very dark.

He hits the light again, and sees a thick pulpy lump on the wall. That’s...not a wasps nest. The texture isn’t papery, and the walls were kinda hypnotic and non-Euclidian. Very unhealthy. And still no wasps. Well, Jordan’s getting overtime, so he pushes the nozzle of his sprayer into the “nest”, and pulls the trigger. The effect was immediate--the nest begans thrashing and growing, reaching for Jordan and screaming. No, actual screaming a warbling cry of pain.

Jordan drops the spray gun, runs down the stairs, bumps into Arthur Nolan looking at him with disappointment. Arthur leads him down, ignoring Jordan’s question and muttering something about “hoping it wouldn’t get this far”, but wouldn’t answer anything. He was led into Flat 1, which was uncomfortably hot. Arthur unbuttoned his shirt, which--was weird. He sat down, and Jordan saw an intricate flame scar on his chest, or maybe a pained screaming face?

Arthur grabbed a pack of matches from his ash tray. Light one, and without looking touched the flame to his scar. Arthur Nolan went up in flames immediately, like he was coated in oil. Then the chair, then the floor, and Jordan was able to run out the door, watching the apartment ignite. As the fire brigade showed up, the flames hit the attic--and that was the same oily smell again. Jordan was then distracted when ECDC showed up and quarantined him. They were quite open about Prentice, and once he was cleared of “no death worms”, they offered him a job. Disease and Pest control go hand in hand. Most of them were mundane, but…

When he helped incinerate the body of Jane Prentice, he smelled it again. Maybe there are others like Prentice out there. Maybe the ant-man is different. But they all smell alike, so...are they connected? That would be...bad.

POST STATEMENT
Simms is rattled, like you are when you hear about stories of bug-hive-women that tried to kill you. Maybe she wasn’t alone? No, Jane Prentice and the Flesh Hive doesn’t seem like it would work well with others, but still…

Ant-Man's house in Bromely was burned down in 2015. Martin was able to find the records of ownership and verified that it was owned by one John Amherst, the same man who owned the Ivy Meadows Nursing Home. You know, the one with all the ants. He’s not a flesh-hive, but…still. Something is connecting them. An oily disease, a foul smell on burning and of course an infinite army of pests...this is a long way from being over.

SUPPLEMENTAL
Simms secret plans are...not really going anywhere. It’s Halloween, which is probably the Black Friday of “spooky reports”. The Archives were called in to handle the overflow, which has been a bit of a holiday. It’s been nice for Simms to just shut down people’s “sightings”. He’s wistful for days when he didn’t need to worry about horrible nightmare things.

Don’t we all, John. Don’t we all.

PERSONAL NOTES
So now we can verify that John Amherst, Ant-Man, and Jane Prentice, Flesh-Hive, are connected. There’s an Ant-Man and the Wasp joke if I don’t know was on purpose or not. We see another case of cultists fighting, and as I just listened to Episode 139 I’m now really wanting to do a Cultist game.

We also get a brief look at the ECDC having to deal with all of this. Again, I love the idea of all these little groups all going around and dealing with this...just every once in a while. In fact, I keep thinking of this as a game element, "tell me the story of how you got dragged into the paranormal?". There are some I'm looking forward to discussing in greater detail (hello "a guest for Mr. Spider"), but I never really dealt with it as a GM. I like the idea of a paranormal game where all the characters have been touched by it at some point in the past.

CHARACTERS
John Amherst: Ant-hive master, oily skin condition, kinda terrible, superhumanly strong.

Arthur Nolan: Landlord, Firestarter, and currently dead. Has a fire scar that might be an evil face. You know, like you do.

Luna Star: Reported on ant-man house.
 

Rolzup

Dinoczar
Validated User
We also get a brief look at the ECDC having to deal with all of this. Again, I love the idea of all these little groups all going around and dealing with this...just every once in a while. In fact, I keep thinking of this as a game element, "tell me the story of how you got dragged into the paranormal?". There are some I'm looking forward to discussing in greater detail (hello "a guest for Mr. Spider"), but I never really dealt with it as a GM. I like the idea of a paranormal game where all the characters have been touched by it at some point in the past.
It was a part of 2nd Edition Unknown Armies, as it happens -- not sure if it carried over to the new edition. Characters were all supposed to have a "trigger event", an encounter with the supernatural in some form, in their past. Not necessarily to be tied into the ongoing campaign, or meant to be explained, just something weird that the PC experienced.

The one that I remember as an example from the book was a person who found a weird cavern while cave-diving; there was what looked like a chapel of some sort, but everything was upside-down on the ceiling. She was never able to find it again, of course.
 

Tonbo_Karasu

Registered User
Validated User
It was a part of 2nd Edition Unknown Armies, as it happens -- not sure if it carried over to the new edition. Characters were all supposed to have a "trigger event", an encounter with the supernatural in some form, in their past. Not necessarily to be tied into the ongoing campaign, or meant to be explained, just something weird that the PC experienced.

The one that I remember as an example from the book was a person who found a weird cavern while cave-diving; there was what looked like a chapel of some sort, but everything was upside-down on the ceiling. She was never able to find it again, of course.
That really sounds like it could be a Magnus episode.

I'll note that the Horror Recognition Guide that was put out about the same time as nWod Hunter included a couple of 'first encounters' amongst its stories, like the cop that had a view of a violent disagreement between a Strix and a Seer of the Throne about who had possession rights within a university.
 

Sabermane

Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
Validated User
Since we're still moving, I'm going down to one case a day for a bit. Besides, it gives me time to listen to more...

EPISODE 56: CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT
Case; 0100710-B (Hey! This is what you do if there are multiple records on the same day!)
Statement of: My man Trevor Herbert!! Regarding the latter years of his career as a vampire hunter.
Date of Statement: July 10, 2010
Recording by: Jonathan Simms

Fuck Cancer! We got vampires to hunt!!

Apparently Trevor did NOT die of cancer. So the record continues immediately

--She died in the end. Once a vampire gets their teeth in you, you’re pretty much dead. The jaws are big and vicious. Trevor is surprised no one really noticed the vampires. Maybe he got lucky, and his survival gave him...a smell of them.

Of course, he admits he can still be wrong. Like with Allard Dupont. That was the name of the man he murdered--really murdered. Allard was a human. Trevor feels bad about the murdering, but still--if he was a crazy murderer, than his hallucinations would have made Allard a vampire too. But it didn’t, so he’s not crazy. Makes sense?

In the early 80’s Trevor was hard-hooked on heroin and vampire killin’. Heroin’s easier to quit. The hunt is, after all, a reason to get up in the morning. But in ‘82, Trevor was high and hungry to kill some fangs. He was in bad shape--infected from bad needles, limping...maybe if he was sharper or faster, he might have not killed that man. But seriously--his name is Allard Dupont.

Trevor doesn’t know if Allard was a mute or not, but Trevor never saw him speak. Allard was brought to his attention by another junkie (a 19 year old named Stanley Kubrick--no relation) at a shelter who raved how his new dealer seemed to have exactly what he needed. Well Stanley had a mass of scars on his neck from a dog attack, but...scars? Quiet mind reader? A drug-addled sickly hobo who is really hoping to get some murdering done? You can see how this mistake got made.

Allard just sat on a park bench at shadowy day, reading a magazine and smoking. Well two cops walked up to Allard, and came over to investigate. Allard looked at them, then cops looked at each other and walked away. Sure, now Trevor sees they were probably just on the take, but again--Trevor was hungry.

Allard went to the town center, to a club in Manchester known as the Hacienda. Allard went in, and Trevor waited for two hours until he came out with a new friend, a big guy. Which again, is odd--vampires go for the sick and weak. They went to an alley, and Trevor followed, drawing his hammer.

The two men found a door in the alley, unlocked it, and went in. Fearing he’d be locked out, Trevor ran at the door, flung it open, and attacked Allard. Trevor was shocked when Allard--screamed. The big guy ran out the door in panic. Allard was screaming, blood running down his face. In a panic, Trevor hit him again in the head--and then it was quiet.

He tried to burn Allard’s body, but humans aren’t really flammable. Trevor bolted and spent the next decade in a drug-addled spiral. In ‘96 he stumbled across his fifth and final vampire, one Hannah Edwards, which got him out of his funk. Apparently that attack was so ‘normal’ it doesn’t really deserve much of a mention.

So it was in the winter of 2009 that he ends his tales, when he foud out when there was something more than vampires in the night. Winter was cold and the shelters were full that year. You had to work hard to get a cot or else risk dying in the snow. Trevor noted something...odd was happening through. After midnight, a sleeper would get up, grab their stuff, then just...go out into the freezing cold. After a few minutes, a woman would walk in and take their place-40, slender, but her coat bulged in odd ways. Otherwise, normal for a homeless person.

So 2am, late January, Trevor sees a guy named Craig get up, and Trevor follows with a hand on his knife. In comes the woman, and Trevor walked over to her--the woman’s face still blank but body language set defensive. She stares at him, and he gets Trevor suddenly gets an urge to leave--wait, not an urge, a desire to go out into the night. An impulse. Good thing Trevor’s been hunting vampires, so he’s able to make his save against mind control.

Seeing her plan failed, the woman bolted, and Trevor chased her down into the road, noting that her arms and legs moving in weird ways. Finally, he grabs her and her arm shifted under his pressure, and Trevor feels movement under her skin. Trevor ducks her attack, and slashes the woman acorss the stomach. She shuddered, and thousands of spiders started to fall out of the wound, and her mouth. Trevor screamed, watching the spiders disappear into the shadows. The woman’s body was still standing, but completely hollow. Trevor ran, and that’s his entire story.


POST STATEMENT
Allard was a drug dealer and a bit of a scum, so...I mean, murder is always wrong, but...there was no notes about spider-people, but Simm’s is fairly confident it’s real because hell have you heard anything in this podcast?! (We also recall that Officer Daisy said something about spider-people…)

Simms is angered--didn’t martin say trevor was dead?! What was this misfiled?! And there’s no signs of Trevor actually being dead--sure he has late stage lung cancer, but could he still be alive?

Simms corners Martin, making sure to get it on tape. Why did Martin lie?! Because...well, he just heard other employees in archives talking about it and...well, assumed they were telling the truth too. A misunderstanding. Well Simms won’t take it anymore--he throws Martin’s note in his face. What are you lying about Martin?!?!?!

...finally, Martin breaks. Martin...lied on his resume. He doesn’t have a Masters in Parapsychology. His mom “had problems” when he was 17, and so he dropped out of college. He found the job here in desperation--he’s only 29! Simms relaxes, and promises not to tell anyone else.

PERSONAL STATEMENT
Ok, first off all--a Masters?! In Parapsychology?! Come on Martin...make them believable.

But it’s good to get our good friend Trevor back, and I love the idea of him as his own show, dealing with the life of being both homeless and hounding the undead, and ending it on “That...is not...a vampire.”

Seeing how this is not really a podcast about vampires, i really get the feeling that Trevor started as a bit of a one-episode pony, but got popular and hence didn’t die in a “Airbags? Can you fucking believe it?” kinda continuation.
 

Law Orc

Quasi-Possum
Staff member
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I suspect that as well. I think the overall story is planned out but the details of the statements aren't.
 

Proteus

Yours Pedantically
Validated User
Re:Trevor

Spoiler: Show
no-selling death seems to be a power that comes fairly early on in avatarhood. So the Hunt refusing to let Trevor die fits the overall mythos, even if it probably wasn't planned from the start.
 
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