The Sinking City
The Great Old Ones are the least of your worries
There is something very wrong in Oakmont. As WWI veteran Charles Winfield Reed, you’re going to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, that puts you slap-bang between the devil and the deep blue sea. Reed is haunted by a supernatural incident that decimated his fellow crew members aboard the USS Cyclops, plagued by nightmares that spur him onward throughout Oakmont – come Hell or high water. And neither of those options are purely metaphorical. A flood has submerged half the town and the water simply isn’t dissipating. The place is like an American Venice, though with fewer tourists. Reed will need to hop into his trusty motorboat, the Cyclops II, to traverse much of its troubled waters. While these are definitely currents you wouldn’t want to take a dip into, things aren’t much safer on land.
Why sew quiet?
In our time with the game, Reed learns of the plight of a local librarian, Joy, and goes to visit her at her place of work. She is uniquely qualified for her role – her mouth has been sewn shut. Through sutured lips she tells us that someone has broken into her apartment multiple times. She gives us her key and Reed sets off to investigate.
Upon accepting the mission, no tooltip pops up. You’ll need to pore over your own map of Oakmont and plot a course yourself. We set sail for Joy’s flat, where quite a scene awaits. The first thing we lay eyes on is a melted camera. Reed comments that there isn’t much hope of developing its contents. Continuing to poke around Joy’s flat, we learn that she used to be a notable opera singer and uncover what precipitated her cruel and unusual fate. Letters from her parents chide her for saying things she shouldn’t, though appear completely unwilling to confront the horror of what has happened to their daughter… but at the
“Poking around joy’s flat, We find traces of a well-cared-for dog and… well, more than traces of the dog itself”
very least it appears dear old Mum and Dad were the ones who secured her new job. We find traces of a well-cared-for dog and… well, more than traces of the dog itself; whoever broke in was hardly a friend to the animals.
Seeing the poor canine’s corpse opens up a psychological wound for Reed and for a split-second the horror of the scene overwhelms him. Tearing his gaze away he follows the blood to a thoroughly drenched sewing machine and discovers the final ‘project’ on a nearby sideboard.
“It’s still wet!” Reed recoils in disgust.
Reed has a unique advantage as an investigator: whatever happened to him aboard the USS Cyclops now allows him to see snippets of the past. Retracing his steps around Joy’s flat reveals more of the shadow we’re chasing, and we learn that it’s not just Joy who’s come into their crosshairs. It turns out the melted camera belonged to her neighbour… who won’t answer their door.
Time to bust out another trick up our investigator’s sleeve: concentration mode. When activated, tendrils of light trace a path towards points of interest, this time leading us to a locked door. Thankfully the locks on our side are no match for our bullets.
We’re led downwards and right into an ambush. There’s a fleshy creepy-crawly trying desperately to hold our attention while a bigger, uncanny mess of limbs dishes out damage. Thankfully, all it takes is a few shots to fell both. Any more than that and our ammo reserves would be in serious trouble. We’re told that bullets will be hard to come by and that you should save them for when you absolutely need them. With the basement clear of cosmic horrors, Reed notices something fishy – again, probably not purely a metaphor – about a nearby box. Concentrating on it, the box is revealed to be merely an illusion hiding next door’s key.
Traipsing back upstairs, we learn that Joy’s unwanted visitor was far more than just camera-shy, as the would-be photographer is in much the same unsalvageable state as their equipment. Poking around the dead tenants’ room, we uncover notes that reveal not only a fascination with Joy but also her visitor – a mythic figure called Granny Weaver. A name’s more than enough to go on, so we hot-foot it to a nearby fast travel point and hit the books.
Back at the library, we have a choice as to how we relate our findings to Joy. For instance, when we tell her about her beloved dog’s end, we can either spare her the horrible details or choose to completely ignore good sense and tact, painting her a gloriously gory word picture. She loved that dog so she’s not particularly happy either way, mind; this choice is more about what kind of man you want your version of Reed to be.
Joy herself is, understandably, too afraid to tell us more of what she knows. Not wanting to leave her high and dry, we promise that we’ll find another way to help, and try to get a few more clues ourselves with the Intelligence system. Using the quick reference database found in the library, you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. The more you investigate, the more information you can research. From clues we gathered earlier, we’re able to narrow down our search and learn how we can send Granny packing.
Unfortunately, our time with the game ends before we can investigate Joy’s case any further, but we’ve fallen for the Sinking City, hook, line, and sinker. In a time when you can’t throw a rock for fear of hitting the slimy tentacles of no fewer than three Cthulhu games, Oakmont appears to have just a bit more individuality than other locales we’ve visited across the dark corners of the Earth. We’re looking forward to taking a deep dive and seeing what else is new in Oakmont next year.
Below the surface, strange and terrible creatures dwell… but there’s plenty of horror above too.
The flooded Oakmont is an original setting drawing inspiration from the works of HP Lovecraft.
Charles Winfield Reed is a former soldier turned investigator trying to uncover the mystery of his past and Oakmont’s present.
You’ll need to poke around, peek at the past, and attempt dialogue with Oakmont’s odd denizens. And some are very odd indeed.