The Laundry: Infiltrating a Carcosa

The Laundry RPG

Campaign title

Campaign title

Episode 4

Infiltrating Carcosa

Dramatis Personae

  • Badrul, Antiquarian (Bazli)
  • Jijah, Spy (Yuzie)
  • Lucy, Military Officer (Farah)
  • Ray, Linguist (Noriha)
  • Talhah, Hacker (Rizal)

Note: For this section of the game session, I created a random encounter table with a simple success/failure dice roll, just to see what went on between the months of March and July, in 2019.

The Capital Laundry Services (Malaysia) Team Bunga Tahi Ayam‘s first mission in Ulu Yam began and concluded in January 2019. They were not assigned any missions until March 2019. Then they were sent on one mission per month, with rotating team leaders.

The First Half of 2019

In March, the team leader was Lucy. They were sent to Kedah. There was an incursion at Alor Setar. A tentacle creature was trying to come through a Level Four Gate and eat the diners on top of Menara Alor Setar. The mission failed and there were 8 deaths. They called in Plumbers to help clean up mess.

In April, Badrul led the team to Perlis where a criminal organisation planned to steal magical artifacts stored unwittingly by UniMAP Holdings. The mission was a success and the criminals were arrested.

The Laundry RPG rulebook

The Laundry RPG rulebook

In May, Talhah brought the team back to Perlis where a large spike in thaumic energy attracted the Laundry’s attention. Cultists had invade the sugar factory in Chuping intending to use the location to summon some sort of otherworldly demon. This mission was also a success and the summoning was thwarted.

However in June, Jijah  who was a 17-year-old who had been through a lot of trauma) failed to stop an incursion at the Heineken beer factory in Kuala Lumpur. A huge snail-like creature with a thousand eyes emerged from another Level Four Gate and three people died including one night watchman. Plumbers arrived to sweep the area clean and dispose of the bodies AND the creature.

Then in July, Ray led the team to Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang where a school was experiencing high levels of student hysteria. Strangely enough it was only the male students affected. The mission failed because of escalation by an invisible creature which turned out to be a pontianak that arrived from Medan, Indonesia, via a tongkang. After the Plumbers sanitised MRSM Balik Pulau, they fabricated a cover story where the students had died of ragging (known to the rest of the world as hazing).

A Team Reborn

It was August 2019. Puan Siti, Field Ops Director, allowed the team to pick a new team name. They would no longer be Team Bunga Tahi Ayam. Despite Team Melur, Team CempakaTeam Seroja, and Team Teratai being available, the five of them instead created a new team name: Team Kembang Semangkok.

Meanwhile, they heard newbies outside Puan Siti’s office cry with despair upon being assigned the name Team Bunga Tahi Ayam, like they had been eight months before.

Later that evening, Mr. Andy Lau, the team’s new Field Supervisor, called them in. He had replaced Pn. Izani, the traitorous Field Supervisor who was fed upon by the Director of Capital Laundry Services (Malaysia), Lela Abdullah. Unit Pencerapan (Scrying Unit) foretold that there would be an increase in thaumic energy at Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur at 9.34 pm. It was then 8.00pm. “You guys will have to take a look at this.”

Carcosa Seri Negara was built by British Resident Frank Swettenham, completed in 1913. It used to house dignitaries. Later it became a tourist attraction, and then it was converted into a hotel. It was now closed, under the purview of DBKL and was currently being remodelled.

Carcosa Seri Negara is pinned

Map of Taman Botani Perdana

Talhah Flies a Drone

Driven by Talhah, the team’s Toyota Unser headed up the hill and pulled up at the locked gate. It was the Unser they confiscated (or stole, it could be argued) from the deceased En. Sabri Mat Hassan in Ulu Yam. It was almost 9pm. It should be empty, but there were a lot of luxury cars parked in the compound. All of Carcosa’s external lights were turned off, but the interior was illuminated. The compound was quite dark.

Talhah decided to fly his drone (stencilled with on its chassis) to spy on the hotel (successfully rolling 21 out of 75% Surveillance). On Talhah’s necronomiphone, the team saw a guard at the front doors at Carcosa’s porch. Through a window, they spied dozens of people in the ballroom, singing and chanting a strangely familiar tune.

Talhah attempted to fly the drone closer to the window, but (with a failure of 96/75 on Computer Use: Surveillance) the machine became tangled among the fronds of a pokok pinang beside the hotel. The words CONNECTION LOST appeared on Talhah’s phone screen.

Farah and Bazli

Players of Lucy and Badrul

Jijah Jumps Inside

After a short briefing, they sent fiery little Jijah in for a closer look. She climbed over the gate. She slipped and fell (86/70), injuring her right shoulder (-4 HP). “Anyone else coming?” Everyone just waved at her from the other side of the closed gate. A second later she successfully broke the gate’s padlock (Fine Manipulation check of 16/75) and replaced her hairpin back to her sanggul.

The gate opened. Everyone was leaning on the gate and they all tumbled inwards. Thankfully the darkness concealed their shenanigans.

It was now 8.55 pm. Before them is the porch and the doors to the foyer. Three guards stood stationary here.

Talhah Looks Within

Talhah successfully casted the preloaded scrying spell in his necronomiphone to see into Carcosa. He reported to the team what the spell showed him in his mind.

In the well-lit ballroom, thirteen little boys were gathered in the midst of a score of adults. They were all garbed in baju Melayu, coat & tie, ballroom dresses, baju kebaya, baju kurung adorned with glittering jewellery and those in hijab wore trendy expensive ones… as if to attend a glitzy celebrity dinner. Except that it happened to be in a closed down hotel with “Carcosa” in its name.

There was central man in the spotlight. He inspected the boys who stood in a line shoulder to shoulder. Each boy appeared to have their parents behind them. He wore a peculiar costume and held a blade in his right hand.

Then the vision ceased.

Jijah’s Entry Interface

As the team planned, they suddenly heard a young boy screaming from the ballroom. Jijah took point. She approached the guards, holding up her Warrant Card, and said, “Sorry we’re late. We’re expected and invited for this event.”

“Ok,” the guard said, his mind affected by the Warrant Card. “Proceed.”

They all entered the dark foyer and the doors closed behind them. A second pre-pubescent voice screamed in agony from the ballroom to the right. There was a room filled with computer servers and cables to the left, beside the main staircase. Talhah was unable to decipher what they are used for, but he found that the network was livestreaming to Instagram.

With Discord for Ray and Talhah to participate

OBS Studio

Ray Makes Jijah a Ghost

Ray casted an Entropy Manipulation spell to make Jijah invisible so she could sneak into the ballroom to see what’s going on in there. One second Jijah was there in the foyer, the next she disappeared. Ray said, “Jijah oh Jijah. Hilang pi mana tu?”

Jijah entered and beheld the scene. She reported it via their tacnet. There were video cameras all over the ballroom. The arrayed children seemed to be ten years old boys or slightly younger. The strangely dressed man stood over them with a bloody blade, going from one boy to the next. Now three children were groaning in agony, holding their blood-soaked crotches.

Jijah recognised the man as the famous influencer Dr Syed Matt (real name: Muhammad Azeem Borhan from Kampung Cabang, Terengganu). He was known to become a pilot, celebrity chef, gamat entrepreneur and a SCUBA diver while he viralled his exploits. Jijah thought, “Now he wants to become a celebrity Tok Mudim?”

And suddenly the Instagram livestream made sense.

The Revolution Will Be Livestreamed

The parents of the boys undergoing the khatan procedure were from the ultra rich. Jijah recognised ministers, captains of industries, CEOs, famous artistes, who were all pleased that their children were participating in this exclusive secret online majlis berkhatan.

At the far wall was a singer known as DJ Sofee, a graduate of television’s Akademi Realiti Malaysia. Behind him was a wall-mounted 60 inch TV displaying the event’s Instagram livestream. It now had 621 views. Then it had 627. The view count was increasing. They heard a second painful yelp. Syed Matt had cut another boy. Blood dripped to the floor.

Also, the parents were all together singing DJ Sofee’s current hit song “Cinta Titiwangsa.”

Syed Matt was standing over a boy who looked 14 years old. The boy yelled, “Mak! Ayah! Kenapa tak sunat boboi bila umur 8 tahun dulu?

Jijah said to herself, “What in the hell is going on here?”

With the camera tripod on a box

The online play setup

Talhah Pulls the Plug

On the TV screen, the livestream had now 671 views.

But suddenly Talhah disabled the livestreaming server (successfully with a 52/55 Technology check). There was loud clamouring in the ballroom as the server and router went dead. The big TV screen went dark.

Jijah warned the others that Syed Matt had rushed past her to check on the server. Everyone hid in the shadows of the unlit foyer. Lucy totally disappeared into the darkness behind a cluster of potted lidah mertua (sansevieria). From there the military officer casted an Entropy Manipulation spell with her phone. The app caused Talhah, who was still in the server room, to vanish out of sight.

Syed Matt and nine others burst out of the room and spotted Ray & Badrul who failed to hide. Lucy considered blowing up the whole place, kids and all, but thought against it because it might not reflect well during her year’s end job appraisal.

Ray Starts Rhyming

Ray stepped forward and waved her Warrant Card and recited a pantun,

Yang merah itu saga,
Yang kurik itu kundi,
Yang indah itu bahasa,
Yang cantik itu budi,

Bagile saya masuk,” she sing-songed with a charming grin, asking for admission (with Art: Pantun check with a +10 bonus, but failed with a 88/75). Syed Matt shook off the charm.

“Who are you? How did you get in? And will you buy my gamat?” he said while producing a small bottle of the minyak gamat from his ridiculously colourful and glittering jacket. He wore bright red Nikes and his songkok too was tall and colourful. This garishness was probably why he needed to wear his fancy sunglasses indoors at night.

Badrul, also waving his Warrant Card, failed to fast talk his way into looking for the toilet. Syed Matt shooed them away with the help of the three guards. He told them that they could watch the livestream the next day on YouTube after they have uploaded it. As she disappeared out into the porch, Lucy and Talaha heard Ray cry out, “Jangan… jangan halau kami!”

Polyhedrals ready to accomodate the BRP system The Laundry uses

The dice

The Event Continues

Meanwhile, Jijah spotted the drone outside the ballroom window and said, “Eh! Drone!” Badrul and Ray rushed to retrieve the drone from the pokok pinang and headed back to their Toyota Unser.

A technician restored the server and router (while invisible Talhah stood watch beside him), and the livestream resumed. 658 views. Still out of sight, Jijah heard the parents complaining about paying RM7000 to participate and then an outage hit. Also, she reported that DJ Sofee’s song had a peculiar modulation to it.

When the viewer count hit 660, Jijah felt a strong headache all of the sudden. She saw others in the ballroom getting sick. Syed Matt drank his bottle of minyak gamat in public hoping to display the effectiveness of his product.

Badrul Finds the Source

Outside, Badrul analysed the song with his necronomiphone and identified that the song has electronically modulated chanting from the text from a book. Capital Laundry Services knew the book as the Pnakotic Manuscript.

At 9.30 pm at 662 viewers, Ray felt nothing listening to the song through the tacnet. She knew the chanting was important but (with a failed Languages check) was unable to translate its meaning.

At 9.34 pm at 666 viewers, as Dr. Syed Matt cut another boy, he suddenly combusted into flames while yelling, “I’m a celebrity! I’m a celebrity!” And his skin and flesh were seared off his bones. His bones then whirled in a vertical circular orbit two metres in diametre. DJ Sofee was laughing in insane glee like he intended this to happen. The parents and their bleeding children were stampeding out of the ballroom – except for the bleeding 14-year old boy. He yelled, “Mak! Boboi nak balik rumah!

The Pnakotic Manuscript spell, enhanced by blood sorcery, boosted by the psychic energy of everyone present singing en masse caused a something impossible to happen. There was a blue flash and the Dr. Syed Matt’s bones transformed into a Level Four Gate and the boy was pulled into the bright portal.

 

That which is named after Carcosa...

Carcosa Seri Negara

The Night Has Just Begun

Lucy and Talhah ran out of the front door of Carcosa Seri Negara. The flash of the gate had also shorted out all electrical circuitry in the vicinity — except for Team Kembang Semangkok’s gear which were all fortunately shielded against EMP from a nuclear blast. Back in their Toyota Unser, Badrul called for backup — again.

In the chaotic ballroom illuminated by the flashing blue Gate, the boy’s parents wailed in futile as DJ Sofee jumped out the window behind him. Now that the shit had hit the fan, it was time for him to bounce. Ray heard the parents’ wailing and pointed out, “Doa mak mustajab.” Meanwhile, Lucy ordered DJ Sofee to be apprehended as he seemed to know something about the creation of this Gate, and hoped this would not jeopardise Team Kembang Semangkok’s KPI this year.

But what had happened to Jijah, who was still in the ballroom across the way from an active Level Four Gate?

To be continued

Notes

  • Yes. Dr. Syed Matt was not a real doctor. It was his “glamorous” nom de plume.

BAHASA MELAYU-ENGLISH GLOSSARY

  • bunga – flower
  • boboi – modern slang word for “son”, from the English word “boy”
  • cempaka – Magnolia champaca
  • cinta – love
  • Cinta Titiwangsa – a cliched & insipid title of a typical love ballad
  • gamat – sea cucumber
  • kembang – flared
  • kembang semangkok – Scaphium longiflorum
  • khatan (berkhatan) – traditional Muslim circumcision ritual
  • lidah – tongue
  • lidah mertua – Sansevieria
  • majlis – reception
  • melur – jasmine, Jasminum
  • mertua – mother-in-law
  • minyak – oil
  • minyak gamat – sea cucumber oil
  • pantun – poetry
  • pencerapan – observation
  • pokok pinang – betelnut palm, Areca catechu
  • sanggul – chignon
  • semangkok – a single bowl
  • seroja – Indian lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  • teratai – water lily, Nymphaea
  • Titiwangsa – mountain range backbone of the Malay peninsular
  • Tok Mudim – Muslim circumciser
  • Unit Pencerapan – Scrying Unit

BAHASA MELAYU LINES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

  • Jijah oh Jijah. Hilang pi mana tu?” – “Jijah oh Jijah. Where did you vanish to?”
  • Mak! Ayah! Kenapa tak sunat boboi bila umur 8 tahun dulu?” – “Mother! Father! Why did you not circumcise me when I was 8 years old?”
  • Bagile saya masuk.” – “Let me in.”
  • Jangan… jangan halau kami.” – “Don’t… don’t throw us out.”
  • Mak! Boboi nak balik rumah!” – “Mother! I want to go home!”
  • Doa mak mustajab.” – “A mother’s prayer is effective.”
Posted in Laundry: The Musang King Directive, Role Playing Games, RPG Actual Play, RPG Campaigns, RPG Teaching Plays and tagged , , , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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