Session 17 | London | Legacy of the Egyptologist

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Doctor von Petersdorf at work

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt

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

Link to background stories and portraits

Written under the influence of Backyard Babies/Hellacopters


London, UK, Tuesday, February 10th, 1925 | morning, about 9 am

Bright Lights, Big City

After the relative peace of Lesser-Edale,  being back in foggy and dirty London feels slightly oppressive, but Shady and Foxworthy both appreciate the companionship with their colleagues in the occult investigation business. Breakfast is spent in the hotel restaurant, updating each other on recent events. After recounting the Lesser-Edale story, Blackwater and Rennfarth tell about what has happened in London. Rennfarth especially mentions an upcoming auction of an exquisite collection of Egyptian antiques. A famous Egyptian scholar, Dr. Karl von Petersdorf, recently passed away, and now his collection of Egyptian artifacts and book are up for purchase by the rich and famous.

 

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Auction poster

As the owner of an antique shop in New York, Rennfarth is well familiar with the late scholar and his exploits. Apparently, the man was a legend among his peers, although his theories weren’t widely accepted by the research community as they were considered way too speculative and unfounded in research. Just before his tragic demise, Dr. von Petersdorf published his life research in a much controversial book, “The Antiquity of the Egyptian Religion”. To add to the tragedy, the publication of the book was also struck by disaster, when the publisher’s warehouse burned down before distribution had begun, destroying all copies of the book, except for a few review copies. (See Clue #DoT 3 in Dropbox).

The investigators decide to attend the auction later in the afternoon, but first, they decide to try to bring some light on the location of their “occult collection” that was meant to be shipped to New York, but which they suspect has been shipped elsewhere.

They also decide to book tickets to Cairo, to continue in the tracks of late Jackson Elias, as they feel that they have investigated all leads they had in London – not to mention all the wrong people they have managed to aggravate in the Jewel of the British Empire…

In short – it’s time to leave London!

High Passage

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P & O SS Ophir

The first stop is Pacific and Orient Line’s offices near the harbor, as they have a liner going to Port Said within the week. Our intrepid heroes purchase 1st Class tickets for S.S Ophir, at the exorbitant price of 38 £ apiece! As the ship departs Friday 13th, they still have some time to kill in London and also an opportunity to tie up a few loose ends.

Books

As they are now leaving for the unknown Orient, some of the investigators visit the London bookshops to buy English to Arabic language books as well as books on hieroglyphics, in hope to do some studying on the sea voyage, which will take about 12 days.

The Limehouse warehouse

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Chabout Shipping Co. Ltd. in Limehouse

They also want to ascertain where their occult wares are going, as they suspect that Chabout has shipped them to some other destination than New York.

The first stop is the Harbour Office and Harbour Master. After some rummaging through the files, the man can confirm that the “Ivory Wind” under command of a certain Captain Larsen, is indeed bound for Shanghai and that the vessel left on Sunday the 7th of February.

Furious, the investigators decide to pay that bastard, Mr. Chabout, a visit.

The Chabout Shipping Co. is situated along the Limehouse docks and is easy to find as the PCs have been there before. The operation consists of a large three-story warehouse near the quay. The structure is surrounded by a tall fence, topped with barbed wire, and the only entrance to the compound is guarded by two ruffians of probably Indian descent. Upon asking, the PCs are rudely informed that Mr. Chabout isn’t available for a meeting. When questioned about this, the Lascars become even more belligerent, telling the investigators to sod off, or else… One of them even reaches menacingly inside his jacket while spitting on the ground.

Foxworthy, who has some issues with anger management almost draws his gun to force his way in, but as a police patrol car passes the area just then, the PCs decide to swallow their pride and leave.

The Auction

After returning to their hotel to freshen up and dress for the occasion, the investigators go to the Old Auction Room, which turns out to be situated in a rather posh area of town. The gathered crowd is obviously some of the social elite of London, and it’s hard for the investigators not to feel a tad diminished in the company of all these rich people.

The only ones “sticking out” is a scholarly-looking man in his mid-30’s, with rumpled hair and dressed in a corduroy suit and a foreign man, all dressed in black, with a beard and a black tarboosh.

 

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The man in the tarboosh

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The scholar-looking man

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London snobs

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More snobs

Soon, everyone has gotten their registrations and papers in order and taken a seat and the auction begins after a short welcome by the Auction House owner, a Mr. R. Jeremy Esqire.

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Mr. Ronald Jeremy Esquire (left)

First, the object in question is displayed for the crowd, then the bidding is begun. Some of the bidders seem very interested in the Egyptian objects from the late doctor’s collection:

  • The scholarly-looking man – bids a lot on a jeweled scarab
  • The scholarly-looking man – bids a lot on annotated Egyptian Book of the Dead
  • Young pretty woman with a way too old spouse – bids on fine alabaster plate
  • Tarboosh man and pale thin man – Ibis-headed curved silver dagger
  • Pale thin man – Black stone statue of Egyptian Pharaoh

Keeper’s Note: We played out the auction for some desirable items, and the PCs bought some very, very expensive Egyptian antiques…

After the auction, it looked like this:

Item Buyer Price
Jeweled scarab Scholar man 1000 £
Egyptian grammar book Foxworthy 32 £
Alabaster plate Young woman 200 £
Ibis-headed dagger Foxworthy 7500 £
Pharaoh statue Shady 2300 £
Book of the Dead Blackwater 3100 £

Stop the thief!

As papers and payments are cleared in the main auction room, a shot is heard from the back of the building! After the initial chaos, it turns out that someone has shot and wounded two of the auction house personnel in the back room where the bought items were kept, and stolen the Ibis-headed dagger! After the deed, the man fled the premises using the back door of the warehouse area.

Shady and Foxworthy immediately take up the pursuit, tracking the man’s route into a nearby park, where the traces end. Other than a few young couples making out in the park, nothing else can be found. Upon returning to the auction house, the Metropolitan police have arrived, taking up statements and looking for clues.

Carl remembers having seen a slightly out-of-place man enter the auction after it began, but he didn’t think more of it at the time. As he describes the thief, one of the veteran police officers seem to have a suspicion of who it might be.

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The mysterious thief

New acquaintances

To further complicate things, as Foxworthy will not pay for the stolen dagger that he purchased earlier, he is also reported to the police for fraud. As the PCs are getting ready to leave, the scholarly-looking man comes up to Shady and introduces himself as William Fredricks, a scholar of all things antique. Fredricks asks if he can buy the Book of the Dead at a price of 3500 £, or if he might borrow the book to have a peek at the marginal hand-written notes, as he says that they are quite unique for this copy of the book.

At the same time, Foxworthy is approached by the man in the tarboosh, who introduces himself as Butrus al-Qusi, collector and buyer of Egyptian antiquities. Al-Qusi says that he currently works for a government project aimed at buying back antiquities that have been brought out of Egypt over the years, and he offers Foxworthy to buy the dagger at cost plus 20%. However, he must first obtain the bank funds via bank draft from Egypt, as he currently doesn’t have that much money.

The whole discussion ends with that the investigators are invited to have dinner with Fredricks and al-Qusi, to discuss these and other matters. The evening is spent at The Crown and Empire, a fine restaurant, courtesy to Mr. Al-Qusi. After dining and drinks, the PCs find themselves with two new useful allies in all matters Egyptian.

The dagger returned

Returning to their hotel for a final nightcap, the investigators and their newly made friends have hardly taken their first sip of beer, before the police come is, along with Mr. Jeremy (of the auction house), asking for Mr. Foxworthy. It turns out that they have recovered the dagger, and it is returned to Edward after he has cleared the financial side with Mr. Jeremy.

The policeman’s story

Apparently, Carl’s description was accurate enough to direct the police’s interest to a small-time hoodlum working for an Italian criminal gang – a certain George DiVita.

The squad car arriving at DiVita’s apartment immediately noticed a foul rotten-egg odor coming from the tenement, the inhabitants of the house gagging and throwing up on the street outside. Entering the premises with cloths over their faces to protect from the stink, the police officers found DiVita dead on his living room floor, along with a small cloth bag containing approximately 3000 £ in crisp new bank notes. Despite no evident signs of struggle or visible damage to the room, DiVitas front had been burned to a crisp, while his back (against the floor) was entirely intact. Identification was done by documents found on the corpse and the police have no idea what happened. Maybe another mobster decided to settle an old score with some pliers and a blowtorch…

Exiting the building, the officers noticed two foreign-looking chaps run into a car and take off, so the police pursued with blazing sirens. The car chase went down to the docks, where a policeman managed to shoot out a tire, making the fleeing car crash into a wall, with one man fleeing on foot.

In the car, the chap on the passenger seat was found dead, a long splinter of glass from the windshield protruding from his eye. The knife was found in the glove compartment, wrapped in a dirty cloth. Apparently, the dead chap had been jammed against the glove compartment, so that the fleeing chap hadn’t been able to grab the knife before fleeing from the cops.

Later, one of the officers that had pursued the man fleeing on foot was found dead in an alley, apparently from a heart attack or something, as there was no evident trauma to be found on his body. A bit strange though, as the officer was just 40 years old and had a very good physique…

The Dagger

 

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The Ibis-headed dagger

As Foxworthy unwraps the dagger on the bar table, among the glasses of fine English stout, Fredricks asks to see the inscriptions on the blade.

According to him, the inscription says: Ny – Har – Rut (or) Lut – Hotep

The translation of this could be several things, as the hieroglyphs often have several meanings:

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Fredricks transliteration and translation of the glyphs on the dagger

The plot thickens. It seems that wherever our heroes turn, traces of occult conspiracies seem to hide behind the façade of normality…

Wrapping it up

After their new friends have left and before retiring for the night, the investigators decide to call Mr. Emerson (of Emerson Imports in New York) to ask him to do some research on what has happened to their things in shipping. They also try to call Inspector Barrington on Scotland Yard to inform him of DiVita, but is met by the bored policewoman on night duty, telling them to get a life and call back in normal Christian hours…


And there we had to break for the session! Be sure to check in for more terrible adventures with the Swedish table RPG group With a fistful of d20’s

 

 

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Session 17 – The Stoneheart Dungeon VIII (Lost Lands)

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Rusty the Rust Monster

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete (1st ed)

Setting/World | The Lost Lands by Frog God Games

Dramatis Personae

Blitz Dunkelsturm | Mountain Dwarf Cleric of Jamboor 6 [Death domain] | Berndt

Haxxl Rosethorne | Wild Elf Duelist 5 | Berndt

Angelina d’Monica III | Human Assassin 5 [Acrobat variant] | Djuro

Alba Dayanite | Half Elf Psychic/Magic-User 3  | Djuro

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 4 [Brute variant] | Flan

Fenrir the Vain | Human Barbarian 4 [Thane variant] | Flan

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 5 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 4 | Martin

Meatshields & NPCs

Man-At-Arms | Garfield

Absent this session

Rektolas | High Elf Fighter 4 | Mats

Nitrolas | High Elf Magic-User 4 | Mats


Session Seventeen – Spiders and shit

Level-ups this session: Alba Psy/M-U 4, Hoder Ftr 5, Fenrir Bbn 5 and Make Me Pal 5.

Obituaries (Gallery of Honor)

The preivious session ended with a bang, followed by a massive assault by the flying vermin known as stirges. This happened as the PCs tried to traverse the great wall in the main cavern on level 2. We started this session with the PCs tired, bleeding and in Blitz’s case toasted by the green fiery blast of some arcane fire trap. After some rest and healing, using up a lot of the party’s healing reserves, our reluctant heroes decided to press on.

The natural wall seemed to divide the cavern in two parts as they had seen from the top, with a steep drop on the other side as well. It also acted as a ledge/path, with two dark cave openings on each side, leading into the rock. Above each entrance, an eerie runic pattern was glowing faintly. After some bickering on who was going in there, Angelina D’Monica the assassin went into the right (south east) opening. Almost immediately, the pathway started sloping down leading to a stair cut from the rock and turning straight east. The stairs ended in a corridor, tapering up to become a narrow but high ceilinged cavern with several smaller side corridors to the north and south. The most striking thing though was the thick spider-web like structures walling off passage to the east, north and south. Dead end it seemed. Angelina (being a human) tried to set the nets on fire, but they wouldn’t burn. After trying to cut them end getting the sword stuck she tried to shove the torch under the webs to see further, noticing dead stirges trapped in the nets. It seemed the eastern approach (the main cave) was all impenetrable, but the side corridor going south wasn’t that thick. After gathering the rest of the party, Alba the psychic wizard used her Ray of Frost spell to insta-freeze the web strands, which made them easy to break. After som intensive spell casting and hard work they moved south, finding themselves in a new corridor going east-west, but walled-off to the east by more webs.

They PCs carefully snuck west, finding themselves in a small circular 3-room cave system. One room contains several corpses. Some desiccated and some fresh. The desiccated ones seem devoid of content, like a “skin costume” with no innards. Pretty gross.

The floor of the other room is littered with shiny things, mostly coins. As the PCs are moving about investigating, a huge 8-feet spiky spider suddenly manifests in their midst and attacks! There is a frantic fight, with the spider mysteriously disappearing and re-appearing in another place, but they manage to slay it without any casualties and continue to loot the area, finding some jewelry, a magic sword and a ring of invisibility (which the assassin takes).

Since they now are wounded and loaded down with loot (which they transport by means of a Floating Disc spell by Alba) they decide to head back to the hidden Temple of Law, which has become their sanctuary and loot collection place while in the dungeon, to take a longer rest and tend their wounds. However, while in the Temple, settling down to rest, Make Me the paladin hears a scuttling noise in the corridor outside. Angelina and Haxxel goes out to scout, Angelina taking point with her invisibility ring. What they find is most disturbing. A huge spider (like the one they slew earlier) has apparently followed them into their hiding place! Maybe it’s not as safe as they thought it would be…? The PCs attack and with joined forces they manage to put down the evil creature. And finally, they get some rest.

Well rested and recuperated, the PCs decide to check the right (north west) corridor upon the ledge. Angelina D’Monica puts on the ring of invisibility and ventures into the dark opening. After but a few feet, everything turns black. Like really, really black. She has to feel herself back to the opening. It seems that even darkvision cannot pierce this ungodly darkness. Hoder the Ogre warrior decides to brave the danger. The dark corridor slopes down, turning right (west) as he goes. After some 50 feet, a stairway leads down, ending up in a non-black corridor leading west. Hoder fetches the rest of the crew and they continue exploration, moving into a small cavern, where they catch a faint purring sound. On a heap of old fabric scraps, a strange creature is resting, a rune-engarved dog collar around it’s neck. It has an armadillo-like body with a long tail ending in a fishtail-like shape and it’s head is adorned with twin feather-like long antennae (like a night-moth). Upon spotting the PCs, the creature gives up a yelp and jumps up like a happy dog, approaching the PCs.

(GM note: The players immediately recognize the creature, but the characters have never encountered anything like it so we play out their ignorance, supported by a few botched intelligence and monster lore checks, resulting in a very fun encounter).

After a few rounds of battle (and a few destroyed metal items) some of the players suspect that the monster has something to do with their rapidly decaying weapons and armor, but they keep attacking as they can’t do anything else. The creature is eventually slain, but at the cost of armor details, weapons and even one mighty magic sword. The PCs realizes that the rust-bringing antennae can be usable and cut them off (one more dagger gone). Then Blitz casts Gentle Repose* on them to keep them from going sour. They then decide to try the antennae on the bronze door they couldn’t force in the partially flooded area on level 1. Without searching more where they are, they hurry to the bronze door (to ensure that the antennae doesn’t lose their ability to digest metal). And yes – touching an antenna on the previously impenetrable bronze door makes it rust and crumble in an instant*, revealing a steep staircase leading down into the bowels of the Earth. The first stop is a small room (10×20 ft) with no apparent exits, and a stairway going even further down. They decide to follow the stairs.

*= I don’t know if Rust Monster antennae are supposed to work after death, but this was good and creative thinking so of course it worked 🙂

After a long climb down, they end up in a man-made corridor making a 90° turn toward the right (west). Faint cries of agony (or ecstasy?) can be heard echoing… They peak around the corner, Miami Vice style, and see two rotting zombie-like undead with swords and shields and three of the blood soaked, red eyed skeletal abominations like they encountered at the diabolic blood-fountain up above. One of the zombies is also carrying a filthy skin drum around its decayed neck. The dwarven cleric jumps around the corner, trying to turn the abominations, but he fails miserably, as does the paladin. The only option now is to fight, bu the cramped corridor only allows a two-man front. Haxxel suspects that the drum might be an alarm device and manages to put an arrow through the drum skin, muffling the sound and nailing the drum to the chest of the zombie. And here we leave our heroes, weapons drawn, facing a group of unrelenting undead…

Actually a good cliffhanger and the end of Season 1 of our adventures in the Lost Lands.


Next session we will create characters for the 1920s Call of Cthulhu mega adventure Masks of Nyarlahotep. And of course, play reports will be posted here as usual.

Stay tuned for more tabletop RPG action from A Fistful of d20s!