Operation Pleasant Depths

Yesterday a hunter from Solon Springs, Wisconsin found the dismembered lower body of a man on the banks of the St. Croix River near its junction with the Moose River. The remains were brought to the Office of the Douglas County Medical Examiner in Superior where Dr. Amanda Kahn quickly discovered something unusual. There were no indications of any significant pre-mortem wounds. This man never had an upper body, the area where the wound should be was covered by smooth, unblemished skin. The tissues had essentially suffocated, but lived, at least for a short period of time, without any upper body.

The Agents are called to Duluth International Airport where their handler briefs them on the known facts and provides them with cover as FBI agents investigating the incident as a potential human trafficking case.

What's Going On

Further up the Moose River lies the compound of known white nationalist militia, the Knights of the Ancient North. Their leader, Johnathan Grey, stole a Hyperborean artifact from a Pashtun woman he assaulted while serving in the U.S. Army in Kandahar in 2012. The artifact contains a fragment of Tsathoggua, imprisoned by pre-human sorcerers in the distant past. This fragment seeks its freedom. To that end, it has manipulated Johnathan Grey through his dreams for the past decade, feeding into his existing white supremacist fantasies and guiding him to gather a group of like minded individuals. Under its direction, they have constructed a gate to lightless N'kai. In order to gain the services of the Spawn of Tsathoggua, they have been gathering migrant laborers from local camps and forcing them through the gate to their awaiting maws on the other side. Luckily for Grey, these individuals are consumed by the spawn so thoroughly that they cease to exist to the outside world, the world's memory of them consumed alongside their physical form, hiding his crimes. Their latest sacrifice, however, managed to escape before being forced into N'kai. He fled through the woodlands surrounding the militia compound. Unfortunately, he was chased by one of the spawn, who have already begun using the area as a hunting ground. The spawn consumed the man's upper body but was distracted before it could finish the job. His lower body fell into the nearby Moose River and was carried downstream.

The Body

Viewing the impossibly healed stump is somewhat unsettling (SAN 0/1) but does not yield much information beyond what Dr. Kahn has already determined. The lower body looks to have belonged to a man in his 20s or 30s, possibly Latino. Investigating possible areas of significant Latino population may lead agents to the migrant labor camps maintained by local farms and canning facilities.

Migrant Laborers

The largest migrant labor camp in the area services a green bean canning facility owned by Bergmann Foods. Security will report that they have had to chase off members of a local white supremacist group, The Knights of the Ancient North. The most recent incident happened about four days ago. The barracks are somewhat under-populated but checking the facility records indicates only one missing worker, Martin Torres. His brother, Luis, is still employed at the facility. If the agents interview him, he will be clearly distraught. He has not seen Martin for four days. He left the camp after being offered $5,000 for helping to build a shed. Luis did not get the name of Martin's new employer.

The Knights of the Ancient North

The Knights maintain a website. Much of it is standard white supremacist screed and pictures of the members in tactical gear in front of an American flag. Looking deeper will reveal that they believe that North America was once inhabited by a technologically advanced white race. They see themselves as heirs to this ancient empire. Agents who make an Unnatural roll will be able to identify terms and phrases (“Commoriom,” “Eibon,” and “Tsath-Yo” among others) drawn from texts relating to an ancient pre-human civilization of sorcerers. Six hours after the start of the investigation, Johnathan Grey will update the website with the following message “We shall face the future in glorious unity with our past.” and a countdown clock that will end at 10pm that night.

Other avenues of investigating the Knights:

Accounting: Agents may try to track the group's recent purchases, revealing purchases of large amounts of cement, iron rebar, and 5.56 ammunition from the last few months.

Bureaucracy or Military Science (Land): Agents may be able to access the service records of Johnathan Grey, revealing his dishonorable discharge after accusations of sexual assault and theft from a female captive in Kandahar.

SIGINT: Agents may research online accounts associated with the group, discovering a post on r/whatisthisthing from Johnathan Grey's account shortly after his discharge from the military. He uploaded an image of a knotted sphere of golden resin-like material with some sort of black stone inside. An agent who makes an Unnatural roll may recognize certain apotropaic symbols from the Book of Eibon in the knotted surface of the sphere.

The Compound

The Knights of the Ancient North compound is made up of three buildings atop a hill surrounded by a chain link fence. The road approaches from the northeast winding up through the wooded hill. The south side of the hill is a rocky cliff with a small (1m high by 1.5m wide) cave from which a spring emerges that feeds into Moose River. The spring is currently choked with a thick yellowish foam dotted with sooty black spots that resemble frogspawn. Touching this foam is inadvisable. It contains hundreds of infant Spawn of Tsathoggua which quickly squirm into action upon contact (SAN 0/1d4). Those who touch it may make a DEX roll to quickly shake off the spawn before they burrow into their flesh and begin consuming them from the inside. Once they enter the body, numbness follows and the only hope of survival is prompt amputation of the affected limb.

The road up to the compound has several speed bumps. The final one is about 10 meters from the break in the compound's fence. It contains a remotely activated IED. There are also floodlights arranged on the fence to point towards that entrance. The chain link fence itself is not very sturdy (climbing it has a 50% chance of causing it to collapse) but covers most of the top of the hill except for a 6 meter break around the road. Every 5 minutes a member of the militia walks the fence.

A small shed to the east of the main house holds various tools including shovels, picks, an acetylene torch, and a wheelbarrow.

West of the main house is a large wooden barn. It has had most of its floor ripped up, revealing a staircase heading down. It is made of cement blocks carved and formed to look like worked stone with various inlaid runes and occult signs of no consistent meaning. At the bottom of the stairs is a cement archway covered with odd sinuous symbols. The inside has the appearance of a black soap bubble. This is an active gate to N'kai. Those who enter will likely be consumed by the Spawn of Tsathoggua who lie in wait beyond.

The main house has three floors. During the evening, all members who are not patrolling, except for Johnathan Grey, will be eating their last supper on the first floor. The second floor has been mostly gutted into barracks for the militia members. A trap door in the ceiling opens up to the attic where Grey will camp until 10pm. He has an M249 light machine gun and the main computer that controls the security system. Windows on this level face East, West, and North and Grey will use them to fire down on intruders.


At 10pm or if facing an insurmountable force, Grey will use the artifact to summon a fully grown Spawn of Tsathoggua and begin the process of freeing the trapped fragment. The spawn resembles a massive jet black centipede with amphibian legs and a head like an angler fish. Grey goes to the shed and uses the acetylene torch to heat key areas of the sphere's surface, occasionally stopping to expose it to moonlight while mumbling a Hyperborean chant. The process takes about five minutes. The artifact crumbles, exposing a jet black stone within. Grey consumes the stone and then is consumed by the Spawn. All the spawn then begin to return to the nearest active gate to N'kai. If the one in the barn is destroyed, they will begin the journey to an ancient gate buried beneath Glen Elder Reservoir in Kansas, leaving devastation in their wake.

If Grey is killed before he can complete the ritual, the artifact will attempt to use one of the other militia members or agents. It will promise the agents whatever it takes to get their cooperation, resorting to using the Infallible Suggestion ritual if desperate (it has 18 POW and WP).


Average Militia Member

STR 10, CON 12, DEX 10, INT 8, POW 8, CHA 7
HP 11, WP 8, SAN 35
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Firearms 40%.
ATTACKS: AR-15 modified for automatic fire 40%, Lethality 10%, AP 3.
ARMOR: All members wear kevlar vests giving them 3 points of armor.

Johnathan Grey

STR 14, CON 12, DEX 14, INT 8, POW 12, CHA 10
HP 13, WP 12, SAN 0
SKILLS: Alertness 50%, Athletics 50%, Demolitions 60%, Firearms 50%, Heavy Weapons 50%
ATTACKS: M249 LMG 50%, Lethality 10%, AP 3.
ARMOR: All members wear kevlar vests giving them 3 points of armor.
RITUALS: Create Stone Gate, Open Gate, Call Forth Those From the Outside (Spawn of Tsathoggua).

Spawn of Tsathoggua (modified Slime of Tsathoggua)

STR 5, CON 5, DEX 19, INT 10, POW 10
HP 5, WP 10
SKILLS: Alertness 90%, Swim 90%.
ATTACKS: Grasp and absorb 90%, Lethality 15% (see GRASP AND ABSORB)
GRASP AND ABSORB: A Spawn of Tsathoggua can reach out with extruded angler fish-like maws and consume prey. The Spawn may spread this attack to two or even three targets in one turn: with two attacks, each is at 70% and inflicts 2D6 damage instead of a Lethality rating; with three attacks, each is at 50% and inflicts 1D10 damage. Any injuries from the attack leave behind smooth skin where limbs once were.
TOTAL CONSUMPTION: Any living thing fully absorbed by the Slime of Tsathoggua ceases to exist in the memories of anyone who is not present to observe their fate. Records of them disappear, though their existence may still leave traces (for example: any children they have will still exist but they will no longer remember their parent).
GROWTH: With each animal of human or larger size the spawn consumes, its STR, CON, and HP increase by 5. This continues until its STR equals 25. At that point, it is considered fully grown.
NON-TERRENE: The Spawn are at home in nearly any environment. Radiation, pressure, cold, vacuum and other inimical environments have no negative effects on them.
OOZING: Tsathoggua’s spawn can ooze, grow, shift or change their plastic form to fit through almost any gap. If air can pass through an opening, the spawn can as well. Physical attacks do them no harm, but flame and hypergeometry inflict full damage.
STRANGE SENSES: The spawn senses living creatures up to 10 meters away with an Alertness test. Barriers (such as a biohazard suit) thwart this sense. A slime may form eyes to see in any wavelengths of light, and its viscous form is extraordinarily sensitive to sound, touch, and smell.
UNDULATION: At top speed, by flinging its mass from a multitude of amphibian legs, the spawn can lope up to 80 kph.
SAN LOSS: 1/1d10


Operation Pleasant Depths was written by Charles Perryman for the 2022 Shotgun Scenario contest.

Source: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PdpbkDeBu01dOkYRJVVqsdduOE3aNlEyyjfEGRJoWPQ/edit.

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