by Andrew Leman and Nick Offerman
played August 2-4, 1990 in Urbana, Illinois
played again August 20-21, 1990 in Denver & Boulder, Colorado

A bizarre helmet, a pair of antique spectacles, and an ancient amulet combine to give an unsuspecting family insight into other dimensions.

Black Tentacle Awards
This game won the Black Tentacle™ Award for Best Special Effect for the helmet experiences. The helmet was a custom-built prop that used a combination of sensory deprivation and pre-recorded audio tapes to give the wearer a private experience in their own imagination.

Game Notes
This game has been written up for the website with the idea that other people might like to try to play it, since it features easy-to-find locations and a small number of personnel, and can be played in one long session. The numerous prop documents used in the game have been recreated in either PDF or JPG format which you can download and print for your own use. The audio "experiences" used in the finale are also available for download as MP3 files. There are some key props that you would have to acquire or build on your own, like the Helmet, the Spectacles, and the Amulet, but there are photos and descriptions which should get you started.

This game had two separate groups of Investigators, each pursuing an independent goal. The two teams greatly mistrusted each other at first, but through good roleplaying they bonded and began to work together, which is exactly how the Keepers hoped it would work.

Although the Investigators in this game spent time interacting with NPCs, they spent at least as much of their game time interacting with props. Much of the story was told through documents, including Hosiah's will and Abner's long letter.

A number of techniques for distorting the sensory perceptions of the Investigators were used in the game. The lenses on the Amsbary Spectacles created interesting visual effects, and the Helmet itself was basically a sensory deprivation apparatus. Click here to see a PDF explaining how the Amsbary lenses worked.

The Hound of Tindalos for the game was a hastily-constructed two-man puppet, made out of foam rubber, duct tape, blue spray paint, and recycled parts from previous monsters. In the Illinois version of the game Joe Foust and Nick Offerman ran the Hound puppet together, but in Colorado Jamie Anderson had to do it all by himself. The hill used in Colorado was much steeper than the one in Illinois, and poor Jamie had a very long uphill run to reach the Investigators.

Jamie Anderson and Gary Mundt, playing a couple of officers for "P Division" in the Illinois version, alarmed Andrew Leman's neighbors when they went skulking down the street wearing highly detailed black paramilitary uniforms. They were supposed to be surreptitiously following villain Elias Kingsley, but they sure attracted a lot of attention and calls to the police. Luckily, they got inside before the police cruisers came by, and avoided a confrontation.

The Helmet experiences for the finale were contained on a set of prerecorded audio tapes, which the wearer of the Helmet could hear through headphones concealed in the ear flaps of the Helmet. Nick and Andrew recorded a total of eight scenarios, with the help of Tom Utterback, a U of I sound designer. Only one of the scenarios was a winning one, in which the wearer saw and safely dispelled the Hound. One other involved dispelling the Hound, but the wearer went insane in the process. The other six did not involve the Hound at all, and one of them resulted in the wearer's death if it played all the way through. When Greg Tatro was strapped into the Helmet and ready to do the ritual, he was presented with a selection of eight identical looking audio tapes and told to pick one. It was only by sheer (and somewhat Keeper- disappointing) luck that he selected the winning tape on the first try. The Colorado players weren't so fortunate. They went through at least three or four experiences before finally drawing a winner. Lily Amsbary, played by Judy Ruha, nearly died during her bizarre transdimensional experience, and Claude Amsbary, played by Sean Branney, went permanently insane after banishing the Hound of Tindalos.

The game prominently features the fictional company New World Incorporated, which was originally created by Keith Herber in the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu game entitled "The Fungi from Yuggoth." NWI has been used in numerous games of Cthulhu Lives, and its connection to Hounds of Tindalos was established in Phil Bell's game "The Hound."