Session 10 | London | London Calling

 

151023071034-acs-ca-city-of-london-gc-150805-10am-1438701231-super-169

London – The greatest city in the world!

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics Specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Link to background stories and portraits


Making up minds

New York, Thursday, January 22nd, 1925 | about 8.00 p.m

Returning from the Arkham to the laundry hide-out, the PCs confer shortly on the next logical step. Shady wants to go to Boston to seek out John Scott. However, Edward and H.P have already purchased tickets for merry old England. And who can resist 1st Class tickets on the world’s greatest passenger ship, the White Star Lines RMS Majestic?

Unknown

The ship leaves for Southampton, England the very next morning, so bags and trunks are hastily packed with the bare necessities for investigator life on the road – including guns, Mythos books. They even bring the heavy stone sphinx carefully packed in a separate crate that’s to be kept in the ship’s hold.

New York, Friday, January 23rd, 1925 | about 9.00 a.m

london-geographical-institute_the-peoples-atlas_1920_the-world-principal-steamship-lines-and-isochronic-chart_3012_3992_600.jpg

Red-lining from New York to Southampton!

The voyage across the Atlantic takes 9 days due to bad weather, but our heroes enjoy their time off – resting, studying Mythos tomes, flirting, romancing, and for some – healing their wounds.

 

Southampton, UK, Sunday, February 1st, 1925 | about 8.00 a.m

Landfall

The Majestic glides towards the Southampton quay. It is cold and foggy, but the investigators feel invigorated by the thought of new vistas. Invigorated by a stout maritime breakfast and strong coffee, they traverse the gangway as kings, while the porters haul their luggage in pursuit, trying to keep up the pace. The first stop is the Customs & Immigration Office located adjacent to the quay.

The customs officer, a portly man in his fifties, checks their papers and passports with an indifferent face. Edward, as a citizen of the Commonwealth, is just waved by, but when the officer sees the gun cases, he insists on seeing the paperwork for the rifles. Being a professional hunter, Edward has a reason for transporting the guns and the PCs are let into the country. On the back of the customs building, there’s a train platform where a train is waiting to take the passengers to Waterloo station in London.

London calling

The train ride to London takes about two hours and is uneventful, but the Americans do get the chance to take in the wet and gray winter of England. About 11.30 a.m, the PCs finally arrive at Waterloo station, wondering where to go next. They decide to start with finding a decent place to live. Edward knows some places as he has been to London on numerous occasions before. It is decided that they will stay at The Cavendish – an upper middle-class hotel situated at No. 81 Jermyn Street in the northern part of St. James’s district (in the City of Westminster). The hotel turns out to be a cozy place, promising “Country solitude in town” and is run by a nice old lady, Mrs. Rosa Lewis.

Cavendish

Cavendish Hotel

After checking in, the PCs head out for lunch. In the busy streets, they notice a newsboy shouting:

“-Slaughter continues! New Egyptian killing! Read all about it in The Scoop!”  (Clue #27 – see Dropbox)

Edward buys a newspaper. Over a pint of beer, waiting for the food in a pub, the PCs read about the most recent of a series of similar murders that have happened over a period of three years. Apparently, as many as seventeen of the victims have been Egyptians, all killed in similar ways, often found floating in the Thames. The PCs decide to follow up on this and start with one of the London contacts suggested by Jonah Kensington back in New York – Inspector Barrington at Scotland Yard.

Scotland Yard

19456740832_de7f10c4eb

Scotland Yard’s headquarters at Victoria Embankment

As soon as the PCs mention Jackson Elias’ name and the Egyptian murders they are told to sit down in a waiting room and soon enough they are shown into the rather cramped office of the veteran police officer. Barrington gives the impression of being a thoroughly professional copper and starts by asking how he can be of assistance. The PCs learn that Jackson Elias contacted him a while back, stating that the Egyptian murders were ritual killings by some occult association calling themselves Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh or some such bollocks. Elias even told him that the Brotherhood was an Egyptian death cult. Even if he thought that Elias was a sensation-seeking journalist, Barrington followed up on this and he even interviewed London’s foremost expert on Egyptology, Mr. Edward Gavigan of the Penhew Foundation on this. Gavigan however, stated that the ancient death cult had no modern-day equivalent and that the current modus operandi did not match the descriptions of the cult of ancient Egypt. Gavigan had also added that, sadly, Mr. Elias was no more than a profit-seeking journalist, out for making a quick quid on the sensational value of such a story. The police-work did after this had also been unable to verify Elias’ claims. The Metropolitan Police had even run a long operation staking out a nightclub run by and mainly catering to Egyptians – The Blue Pyramid Club, as many of the murder victims had been frequent patrons at that establishment. Despite the efforts, nothing new was learned from the effort.

xa7162_key.jpg

Inspector James Barrington at Scotland Yard

Barrington also interviews the PCs, trying to ascertain what they know about this ghastly business, but they give him very little information, save that they are here to investigate the circumstances of Jackson Elias’ unfortunate demise and they knew that he had spoken to Elias.

As they leave, Barrington cautions them against doing anything illegal and that the should keep him informed of any progress or clues relating to the Egyptian murders case. The investigators ensure that they will do just that and leave Scotland Yard.

 

The Scoop

newsman

Mickey Mahoney at the Scoop

The second London contact Kensington gave them before leaving was The Scoop editor Mickey Mahoney, making the sordid weekly tabloid the next logical stop. The Scoop specializes in juicy stories about gory murders, sex scandals, and weird occurrences, often penned by Mr. Mahoney himself. Apparently, Elias had met the man several times, when their mutual interest in the occult and weird intersected.

e5d34246e8071bf113baee2d9b70e1fb

Busy Fleet Street

The Scoop offices are situated at Fleet Street, not far from Ludgate Circus. When the investigators arrive, Mr. Mahoney greets them with a stinking cigar in his mouth. Apparently, he works the operation by himself. After finding somewhere to sit in the extremely messy office, Mahoney explains that he is extremely saddened by the news of Elias’ demise (which he knows of from the wires) and says that Elias’ friends are his friends. The PCs explain about their investigation into their mutual friend’s murder. The newsman is eager to help and says that Elias met with him recently, promising a juicy story about an evil cult operating in London. Elias also hinted that the cult might be well connected and that it might be connected to the so-called Egyptian killings. Sadly, Mahoney never got the story, and Elias never mentioned any names. Mahoney is still eager to get the story however and offers the investigators up to 15 pounds for the story. Or if they don’t find anything – photos of cute lasses in their knickers will also do…

Mahone also mentions that Elias browsed through The Scoop’s files and that he seemed particularly interested in three stories. After some digging through unsorted heaps of paper, Mahoney gives the PCs a manila folder containing three news clippings (see Clue #25 & 26 in Dropbox). One clipping is about the Egyptian killings, one about some grisly murders in a place called Lesser-Edale, and the last is a semi-famous London artist who produces the most vicious and evil looking paintings.

Mahoney also offers his assistance if they should need a guide or help with their investigations – he’s their man – for a price of course…

 

The Isle of Dogs

Historical-Isle-of-Dogs-23042105

Isle of Dogs map

In the evening, after meeting the cynical, chain-smoking journalist, the investigators decide to take the stroll down to the Isle of Dogs to grab a bite and a bitter, and maybe even check out the Egyptian Club – The Blue Pyramid.

6aaa9a4753250a60272c2aa89e3f23b1

The Isle of Dogs, 1925 ca

The Isle of Dogs is almost an island in the city, surrounded by the Thames on three sides. The area is rather run down and encircled by docks and quays. It’s not hard to find a rowdy pub. After a few beers to boost the morale, the investigators decide to check out the club.

 

The Blue Pyramid Club

scary-french-nightclubs-1920

Entrance to The Blue Pyramid Club

They find the entrance on a dark side street, a long queue outside. After some waiting, a fez-clad man in a huge mustache admits them into the place. Inside, the club is filled with faux-Egyptian paraphernalia – mini sphinxes, Egyptian statues, posters with pyramids, hieroglyphs and so on. It soon also becomes apparent why the place is so popular when the belly-dancers enter the scene…

28de612fc7ba91b77fe6ef1810a2dc82

The Blue Pyramid bar

Unknown

Belly dancers!

As the crowd parties on, and the belly dancer’s dance get more frantic, the investigators spot a group of men sitting in the back of the room, all dressed in dark costumes and wearing red fez hats. One of them definitely looks like the boss. After some discrete questions, they learn that this is Abdul Nawisha, owner of the place. He looks like he means business.

Now the scantily clad belly-dancing ladies have begun to dance around the tables and expect the patrons to tuck money as tips beneath the straps of their costumes. When everyone is mesmerized by the attractive young ladies, Edward decides to have a word with Mr. Nawisha and walks over to the table where the men in fez sit. He hardly manages to mention the words “Egyptian killings” before Nawisha tells his men to “throw out this annoying gentleman”. Four big men grab Edward and soon enough he finds himself on the sidewalk outside the club.

9ad172_f7093f27367b4123a5b31e1c42721b0emv21.jpg

Yalesha the belly dancer

Standing outside, waiting for Carl, who’s enjoying himself inside with wasting money, Edward decides to scan the place from the outside. There’s a narrow back street beside the club, leading to what seems to be the personnel entrance to the club. A lone woman stands outside in the dark, having a quick cigarette, wrapped in a too large coat over her, well, scanty dance dress. As Edward approaches her, she seems startled and begins to go inside. However, the big game hunter manages to convince her that he means no harm and continues by asking her about the Egyptian killings and the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh. The woman, who introduces herself as Yalesha, says that those kinds of questions are dangerous and that she really must return to the show inside, but looks at Edward with interest and even passes a quick smile before disappearing behind the door.

After some more waiting outside, Carl joins Edward with a dumb smile and as they prepare to leave, there’s a knock on a window – it is Yalesha who’s knocking and is waving to Edward to come closer. She looks around nervously and says that she has information for him and that they should meet tomorrow at The Bouncing Duck in Limehouse at noon. Looking scared, she then runs back into the establishment without looking back.

Happy, and a bit tipsy, our intrepid investigators zig-zag their way back to more fashionable parts of the city without being robbed or worse.

 

London, UK, Sunday, February 2nd, 1925 | about 9.00 a.m

The Penhew Foundation

page6image584

Breakfast at The Cavendish

Slightly hung over, the PCs eat a sturdy breakfast with lots of coffee and then decide to pay a visit to the Penhew Foundation. As it’s situated in Chelsea near the Natural History Museum, they take a cab. The Penhew Foundation is a High Victorian building, surrounded by a high wrought iron fence and with a doorman just inside the entrance.

wesleyan

High Victorian style house

Inside, a fancy stair leads to the main floor and a front desk where a very correct British female clerk asks their business. After some waiting over a cup of tea, they are shown to the superbly furnished office of the boss – Edward Gavigan. A man in his fifties, Gavigan is the epitaph of the refined English gentleman, dressed in a Saville Row impeccable pin-striped suit and wearing one of those new wristwatches. The office is luxurious, complete with a huge desk made of exotic wood. In the back of the office, there are built-in cabinets. A modern German safe stands with the door slightly ajar.

images-1

Edward Gavigan, head of Penhew Foundation

After some jolly good pleasantries, he asks how he can be of help. Upon stating their intentions and telling about Jackson Elias’ murder Gavigan seems saddened:

“–Bloody awful business, I must say! Damned fine chap, Elias.”

Gavigan mentions having met with Elias once when Elias wanted to speak with him about Sir Aubrey’s participation in the Carlyle Expedition. He volunteers to try to recapitulate what he told Elias:

Gavigan says that Carlyle obtained information from a mysterious African woman concerning a shadowy time in Egyptian history about which Sir Aubrey had long been interested. In this time a sorcerer was reputed to have ruled the Nile Valley. Alas, Gavigan says with a sad smile, all turned out to be a hoax. In Egypt, the woman disappeared with the expedition’s ready funds, some 3500 British pounds. The money loss was insignificant to Carlyle, but the loss of his lover affected him deeply. Fearing that this loss combined with the intense Egyptian heat would negatively affect her as well as the depressed Carlyle, Miss Hypatia Masters, the expedition’s photographer had suggested that they should spend the summer months in the cool Kenyan uplands. That would also enable her to try her wonderful new camera lenses to photograph the African wildlife. Once in Kenya, the party had entered the dubious territory and met their fates at the hands of local bandits. Gavigan finishes by stating that the majority of the expedition’s records disappeared there as well as Sir Aubrey always kept them with him on expeditions.

Gavigan follows up with saying that despite their grisly end, the expedition managed to find some marvelous finds from other time periods from the test trenches dug at Dhashur. They also found some secondary sites to the west of the Giza pyramids. Most of them are loaned to the British Museum from the Egyptian government, but some are here at the Penhew private collection. With that, he invites the investigators to a tour of the collections. Gavigan shows the PCs endless broken pots, inscribed shards, noseless statues, and bas-reliefs of sleek cats and ladies wearing thin linen. The tour goes on for over an hour without a chance to interrupt, when Edward decides that he really should check out that open safe… With a lame excuse about “nature’s call and all that” Edward leaves the group and heads back to Gavigan’s office, stating to the secretary in the outer office that he has forgotten his gloves. The young secretary is uncertain of what to do but when a loud scream is heard outside, she rushes out, giving Edward the chance to rush into the fancy office and check out the safe. Inside, the only item is a packet (maybe 100) of new 5 pound notes. Edwards leaves the notes and just in time because the secretary arrives after the ruckus in the corridor (which of course was Carl that faked falling and hurting himself).

As the clock is fast nearing noon, the PCs take a hasty goodbye and asks the clerk at the front desk to call for a cab. Edward has a date with the cute belly-dancer after all!

 

Asian Seamen in the port of London, c.1908

Lascars having a break from hard work

 

As they wait for the cab, the investigators note several lascars (East Indian seamen) men working carrying large cases from the Foundation and into a dirty lorry with a canvas top. On the left side of the building, there’s obviously some sort of ware entrance for deliveries.

We leave the investigators in a cab with a very talkative taxi driver, late (it’s about 10 minutes past 12) on their way to Limehouse and the meeting with Yalesha…

 

Session 10 – The Stoneheart Dungeon (Lost Lands)

72d8a4b2d036156ef67ab87cb6ad2787

Dark forest…

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete

Setting/World | The Lost Lands by Frog God & Necromancer Games

Dramatis Personae

Blitz Dunkelsturm | Mountain Dwarf Cleric of Jamboor 5 [Death domain] | Berndt

Haxxl Rosethorne | Wild Elf Duelist 3 | Berndt

Angelina d’Monica III | Human Assassin 3 [Acrobat variant] | Djuro

Alba Dayanite | Half Elf Psychic 2/ Magic-User 2 | Djuro

Rektolas | High Elf Fighter 3 | Mats

Nitrolas | High Elf Magic-User 3 | Mats

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 3 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 3 | Martin

Meatshields & NPCs

Men-At-Arms | Darkwolf | Fuldo | Garfield | Garfunkel

Torchbearers | Ranulf | Wee Dingwall

Absent this session

 

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 4 [Brute variant] | Flan

Fenrir the Vain | Human Barbarian 3 [Thane variant] | Flan


Session Ten – Blood and Bones

WARNING – SPOILERS!

 Haxxl, Alba and Rektolas leveled up (Dul 4, Psy/M-U 3 and Ftr 4 respectively).

This session began with the players just sitting up on their horses after having spent the night outside the ravaged temples of Thyr and Muir.

According to the crude map provided by Manchego the gnome in Bard’s Gate, the dungeon should be located in a forest about 10 miles further up the valley. After a few hours of travel with mountains on both sides and a river to the right, Rektolas’ sharp elven eyes spots glinting metal on the other side of the river, about 2 miles away. It’s too far to see any details but there seem to be movement. The party quickly dismount and assume low positions along the river bank. Whoever (or whatever) it is over there seem oblivious to the PCs and move away towards the northeast.

Our heroes resume their trek and soon spot the treeline further ahead. When they come nearer, the forest looks impenetrable, full of twisted trees and dense undergrowth. A quick survey reveal a fairly well-traveled trail skirting the edge of the forest, but no one can tell if it’s made by animals or men. Manchego’s instructions mentioned a path marked by stones that should lead from the edge of the forest to the dungeon. After some searching the PCs find a path into the forest, marked by two mostly overgrown obelisks. Blitz ventures inside and already 20 feet in, the twisted trees and vegetation of the forest seems to swallow all outside sounds as well as light.

The party must now continue on foot as the forest is too dense to travel by horse. After some hour of slow travel with many detours, the scout (Rektolas the elf) spots a huge tree with the path splitting to go around the tree. Advancing carefully, he spots several bodies hanging from the branches, wrapped up in some resinous rope-like substance. The elf warns the others and runs up the path and around the tree to scout ahead. As the others arrive they see even more bodies hanging higher up in the forest canopy. Haxxl and Angelina stalks off into the forest to see if anyone’s hiding there. Before they can decide what to do, four large (about 4 feet diameter) spiders drop upon the party, now spread on a long line along the path. A frantic battle ensue and Make Me the paladin is bit by a spider, succumbing to it’s venom. Luckily, Alba manages to cast a sleep spell that neutralizes two of the spiders, allowing the final two to be fought and killed. Luckily, the paladin will live, but he’s now weakened both by blood loss and spider venom (-3 to strength).

The PCs climb the tree and cut down the lowest hanging bodies, which turns out to be dead ordinary humans with no valuables on them. After a quick rest, it is decided that the meatshields should stay here with the horses while the characters continue towards the dungeon.

After a scary walk with odd scuttling sounds following them, the narrow path suddenly opens up to reveal a large clearing with an angular large crag standing in front of them. And in the base of the crag – an arched opening, framed by two half-toppled and soot-blackened pillars…

Moving closer, it is apparent that this once was a center of good, but now it has been defiled by evil. The stone blackened by soot and dirt. Good runes and symbols overwritten by evil looking runes and infernal grafitti. Rektolas runs into the dark opening, full speed…

The rest of the PCs follow shortly, wondering what’s going on and find the elf standing in the first room, apparently some antechamber before a long and dark corridor into the mountain. As outside, the room has been defiled and nothing of value can be found. Being able to see in the dark, the non-humans take the lead, with the humans following with torches. Old Sleaze the sorceror puts a light spell on his staff. Some 25 feet into the corridor there’s an opening to the right, leading to a small room with a cot and and a small table, which might have been an office of sorts once but now is in ruins. Meanwhile, Haxxl has detected what might be a secret door in the left wall (just past the “office”). He consults the dwarf who concur that there is some kind of stone construction there, but they can’t seem to find out exactly what: door or trap?

The PCs decide to move on to see what’s ahead of them and some 45 feet from the “office” the corridor opens up to a huge room (70×80 feet), dominated by a 25 foot diameter font in the center. The room and font radiate an almost tangible feel of evil and terror, seemingly emanating from a grisly red luminescent chaos rune on the font. The font is spurting forth blood and it’s basin is filled with bones. As the PCs are taking all this is, the blood starts to bubble and the bones merge together into skeletal creatures with glowing red eyes, armed with spectral swords and shields. Four of the undead exit the font and attack! After a few blows have been dealt, Blitz the cleric manages to turn them and they cover and move away from him. At the same time four new skeletal forms are born from the font and lunge themselves at the characters. Despite being more in numbers, the PCs get hammered by the undead and the paladin takes a critical hit, felling him to the stone floor, bleeding from a deep wound (-3 hp but he manages his death save). The PCs rally to drag him into safety and cut down two of the undead. The cleric manages to turn the last two, who join their turned comrades in a corner… Alba binds the paladin’s wounds and gives him a healing potion (thus stabilising him). As they make a fighting retreat and drag the barely conscious paladin toward the exit from the room, four new skeletons climb out of the font…

And here we had to break the session. To be continued…