Sunday, January 1, 2017

Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.15

At the end of the previous session, the cadre finished reading the account of Tulius Varro - written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Furthermore, they rested for several days as Pierre and Jeffery healed - under the care of Dr. Thomas McKinley.

We began this session with the group discussing what else they learned in the monastery library and preparing to find a portal home.

***

Wednesday, September 13, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

During his convalescence, Jeffery studied the monastery's documents.  Though trained in classical Latin rather than medieval Church Latin, he slowly read through the accounts of the region.  After days of rest and reading, he - with help from McKinley and Merriweather - found several stories that identified two different locations, which sounded like a portal.

One was undoubtedly the portal they arrived through, only the notes mentioned a black obelisk with inlaid silver writing, odd pictographs, and a purple crystal inlaid with blue.

The second was an archway to the south located on an island.

At first they wanted to go to the southern portal.  After some debate, the group considered their wounded and lack of supplies before deciding to examine the obelisk then return to the village of Les Hiboux.

On the trip to the monastery days before, they had traveled further north.  Now, jutting south toward the portal, they noticed the forest had changed since they had arrived a month earlier.  Slime molds clung to trees, large toadstools as big as dogs nestled under the trees, and giant blue puffballs as big as a man could be seen.  Dr. McKinley cautiously approached one puffball to take a sample - Biology (Mycology) - in hopes he could compare to the fungal spores back in London of 1915.

Camping their first night in the open, the Lamplighters found a small glade clear of fungus.  They strung a rope from the tree trunks, encircling the glade, and set watches.  While their ride out had been more raucous, now with three of their number dead (not including the crushed Zoog) as well as two injured, they were cautious and quiet.

***

Thursday, September 14, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

Near dawn Harris Benjamin sat watch as the others slept;  the scent of smoke curled into the glade.  Always a careful individual - Cowardice disadvantage - he woke the group.  Merriweather offered to watch the horses and camp while the others made their way through the forest carefully avoiding any fungus.  Merriweather's player was absent and Tali/the Zoog's player ran Harris Benjamin for the session.  

Eventually they spied firelight and a murky clearing hidden by some kind of fog or mist.  McKinley realized they were looking at a group of Risen surrounding a pair of great iron cauldrons that bubbled blueish vapor into the air.  He quickly made everyone cover their mouths and noses and told them that the Risen were probably spreading the blue spores with the cauldrons.

Intuition is a tricky advantage.

After some discussion, they let loose a volley of crossbow bolts into the Risen and as a group proceeded to cut down the creatures with limited resistance.  After dumping some of the monastery wine into the vats, they put out the fires.  Pierre noted he would inform the King's army when they returned to Les Hiboux, and that they would have to begin hunting the Risen.

Back at camp, they cleaned the Risen gore off their clothes and blades, then packed and rode on toward where they had first arrived in this time/world.

Eventually, Pierre found the place he had met them and following Jeffery they walked south some twenty feet where they found the obelisk.  McKinley laughed wearily that they had been near the thing the whole time.

Approaching it, Harris touched the purple/blue crystal and examined the pictographs - he as the Quirk Likes Crystal Tech.  As he did a the sides of the stone slid open and pair of brass clockwork arms grabbed his head and began flashing purple light in his face.  Benjamin struggled to break free - he also failed his Fright Check.  A voice from inside the obelisk stated, "Inferior specimen" and tossed Harris Benjamin aside.

After no success attempting to translate the stone, Jeffery Llywellyn stepped up to it, was scanned, and had his head seized.  He did not resist and passed his Fright Check.  The voice from the stone stated,  "Subject accepted," and Llywellyn was brought close to the purple crystal. He heard a voice in his head. "What is your request?"

Jeffery said he wanted to open the portal back to his time/world. A smaller clockwork arm with a small purple crystal appeared above it.  It quickly inserted the small crystal into Llywellyn's head and dropped him.  McKinley rushed over but found no visible wound.

Jeffery felt strange as his head throbbed.  Suddenly, he could "see" power flowing from the obelisk into the cliff-face.  Inside he could "see" a larger set of crystals and clockwork.  He asked "What is going on?" and a voice in his head stated.  "Do you wish to use the Portal?"

He said.  "Yes, please open to the room we were in before arriving here."

The cliff-face rumbled and opened.  Inside they could see a great purple crystal sitting on an obsidian base surrounded by clockwork.  There were numerous corpses of British military and rat-faced things in the room as well.  McKinley and Benjamin rushed through the opening after saying goodbye to Pierre.  Llywellyn however informed them he would not be returning.  He intended to stay and help defeat the Risen. His friend, Bertrand Merriweather, shook his hand and they waved goodbye as the Portal closed.

Jeffery Llywellyn's departure - the player is creating a new character - means that I will not be revealing the mechanical affects of the crystal in his brain at this time.  However, I have discussed a follow up storyline or even new campaign where we pickup Jeffery and Pierre's story as they seek to stop the Risen plague.

***

Tuesday, September 14, 1915 - Reculver, Kent, United Kingdom

After, the hole in the cliff face closed, the group searched the Crystal room and gravel beach for any signs of life.  All of the rat-faced creatures were dead, though Benjamin managed to get several good photographs of them.  The British soldiers were also dead.  McKinley collected fifteen aluminum identity discs.  Hiding in one corner, they found Captain David Watson, their Lamplighter Control.

Watson did not recognize them.  McKinley decided after a quick Diagnosis that the man was in severe mental shock and needed professional treatment beyond his scope.

Merriweather found an open door - not unlike something from a U-boat, McKinley noted - and the trio plus Watson walked the long metal corridor until emerging at a cave west of Grays, Kent.  The Roman Galley Pub had a phone and McKinley contacted the Gasworks.

Meanwhile at his flat in London, Reginald Smythe III, sat reading a book about the occultist, John Dee.  That he was reading at all surprised his valet, Nigel, to no end.  His phone rang and soon Nigel informed Smythe that Dr. McKinley had contacted the Gasworks from Kent.  When Smythe asked the caller why the Gasworks didn't just contact someone to go get them, he was informed that this was exactly what was occurring by them contacting him.  Smythe was amused.

He and Nigel - with Nigel driving - left London that afternoon and made their way to Kent by the evening.  Reunited with Watson, McKinley, and Benjamin - and meeting Merriweather for the first time - they exchanged stories: medieval France, the Risen, the Roman scroll; the assault to find them, the creature in the pool, and Tali's disappearance.

***

Friday September 17, 1915 - London, United Kingdom

The remaining Lamplighters returned to London on the 15th of September.  They were met at the Gasworks (the Lamplighter offices were now missing all the furnishings) by the Consultant.  He informed them that they were the remaining active Lamplighters who had not died, gone mad, or vanished.

He invited them to dine Friday that 17th at the home a friend of his - General George Mark Watson Macdonogh, lately at the Front.

Smythe, Merriweather, Dr. McKinley, and Benjamin - who had booked passage back to the United States and who had brought all his developed photos for the Consultant - met at Macdonoghs home.  There they met a Afrikaner, Alaard Vick, who worked at as a librarian at the Oxford University Library and possessed an immense knowledge of languages.

There they were informed that Macdonogh - a cousin of David Watson - was to take directorship of British Military Intelligence in January of 1916 and that the Lamplighters - by order of King George V - would as of January 1, 1916 cease to be a separate organization and become part of Military Intelligence.

Macdonogh told them he would appoint his cousin (the uncle of Captain David Watson) Doctor John Watson as the head of the new Intelligence section - he planned to reorganize the Directorate of Military Intelligence when taking over.  They met Dr. Watson and realized he was the author of the stories in the Strand Magazine they had all read as boys.

Smythe then realized that the Consultant was none other than Sherlock Holmes - former consultant detective, now retired except in the service of national security or issues related to the Lamplighters. 

They learned Watson and Holmes had been involved with the Lamplighters in the 1880s and that both knew Smythe's father and had known Tali's.

Smythe informed them he still intended to attend an auction in Paris ten days hence - a decision not that did not please Macdonogh, but which was supported by Holmes.

***

The session was a nice mixture of survival horror and roleplay.  Our campaign has one story left - the Paris Auction - before I intend to shift things from mission mode to a sandbox campaign where they take the lead on finding recruits, looking for clues, building libraries, finding out the history and the missing information about the Lamplighters, and generally working as senior agents for Dr. John Watson.

Everyone seemed pleased by the inclusion of fictional and historical persons as actual NPCs in the campaign and the future direction things were headed.

The story continues in Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.16.