"Shoot him in the knee!"
"I'll have some salts and some whiskey please. And some cake. And do you stock mantraps?"
"Do you have a goat we can borrow?"
The above quotes were all uttered by the player characters during this session, and it just goes to show that despite a change of scenery and a new adventure, my players still manage to come up with some way of throwing me.
|This session a terrifying beast threatens the investigators... this isn't it.|
The last session ended with the Yoo brothers transported back in time thanks to a mystical painting, and our party resting after their encounter with a mad artist and his frail old mother, who just happened to also be an eight-foot-tall intelligent and murderous lizard.
This session started with the investigators awaking to discover that Miles Shipley, who they had taken back to their hotel with them had died in the night, courtesy of Harry Crum's rather aggressive means of getting him to sleep. That brings the "callous murder count" for Harry up to three. I sometimes wonder if the world is in more danger from our heroes than it is from the nefarious schemes of the Elder Gods.
After the regulation SAN checks the investigators discussed what they were going to do about Miles' body. It took them less than thirty seconds to decide to load it into the laundry chute in the hotel corridor!
Shortly after the phone rang. It was the hotel reception telling them that they had a visitor, and Harry who had answered told them to send the person up to their room. After a few minutes there was a knock at the door, and Harry answered with his weapon drawn. It's nice to see such healthy paranoia developing already!
Their mysterious visitor was Cutter, newly arrived from New York following his hospital recovery from a case of poisoning. The group brought Cutter up to speed with everything that had happened, and Cutter was able to inform them that there had been a second attempt on Lt Martin Poole's life in New York, and that there had been something big happening in Harlem.
It was time to decide how to proceed. The leads from the Shipley household had died out (quite literally), so the group laid out their options in a methodical manner. There was Inspector James Barrington of Scotland Yard to follow up, the Penhew Foundation continued to nag at their thoughts, and the story from Derbyshire that Jackson Elias had shown an interest in.
Displaying their newly honed paranoia once more the investigators decided to check out and switch to a new hotel before continuing their work. On the way to the new hotel on the Embankment, Willard stopped to use a telephone at a local post office to make an anonymous report to the police, informing them of the dungeon and fell deeds of Holbein Mews.
Harry decided to go get himself checked over at the hospital following his recent exertions (being stabbed and shot), and Cutter decided to get involved and headed to Scotland Yard to interview Inspector Barrington. After a long wait he finally got a chance to meet the inspector, but he didn't get very far. Barrington was too busy investigating the Egyptian murders to help with a murder case from New York (Elias'). Cutter didn't pick up on the hint and left Barrington to get on with things.
Willard and Sebastian decided to head back to the Penhew Foundation and luck was with them. Gavigan was available and saw them in his impressive office once again. They showed him the strange scrolls they had found in the basement of Holbein Mews, explaining that they had been part of an inheritance. Gavigan feigned disinterest (though Sebastian's psychology roll showed he was actually very interested), and offered to buy the scrolls for £100 as they were certainly ancient and might find a place in the Penhew collection.
Willard and Sebastian decided not to sell the scrolls and headed back to their hotel, but not before heading to a bar and trying to see if they were being followed. There was that paranoia again!
A fruitless day ended with the investigators regrouping and resting for the night at the new hotel. The next morning's papers put pay to their plans though, with the headline of the Scoop screaming "Local artist found murdered in hotel laundry!" The group wisely decided to get out of London for a few days and head up to Lesser Edale in Derbyshire to investigate the reports of a strange beast wandering the hills, and so an hour later they were at St Pancras, boarding a train to Derby.
Six hours after that the group had arrived in Lesser Edale after hiring a car in Derby and driving through the picturesque countryside. The weather was poor with a howling wind and heavy rain, so the investigators parked up and headed straight into the local pub, The Laughing Horse.
Shortly after booking a room and ordering some hot food it was time for me to impress the players with my superb South Yorkshire accent (funnily enough they didn't seem that impressed!). The arrival of Hubert Tumwell, the local police officer started off a conversation about recent events and the death of Lydia Parkins and the attack on Harold Short. At this point a shadowy figure who had been resting in a corner chair by the fire joined in.
|What did you say the inn was called again?|
The newcomer was Hubert Reginald Yew, a field researcher and author of "The Modern Monster - Lycanthropy in the City". He was also the new player-character of Mr Yoo's player. He tried to convince everyone that they needed to hunt the wild beast down, though Tumwell insisted he had shot it during the last attack and it hadn't been seen since.
At that point a well-dressed young man entered the bar, ordered a drink and sat down with a few friends. It was Lawrence Vane, son of the local lord who resided in Castle Plum on the bluff overlooking the village. Paranoid suspicions were instantly alerted by Lawrence's gruff response to questions, and the players became convinced that Lawrence was behind the attacks (with Hubert sagely adding that he was likely a werewolf!).
After suffering several minutes eyeballing by Harry, Lawrence left the inn. By this time it had gotten dark and the wind had picked up. Shortly after Lawrence left there was a terrifying noise that echoed through the building. A loud howling that seemed to come from all directions at once.
Spurred into action by the inhuman sound the investigators leaped to their feet and ran outside. Cutter used his woodsman skills to track Lawrence's footsteps in the mud outside. The tracks showed that he had started walking towards the castle, but quickly lengthened into a run before the rain obscured the tracks.
The group was undecided on what to do. Several of them wanted to head up to the castle right away and confront Lawrence, whilst others argued that it would be safer to wait until dawn. As they argued in the cold, wet wind I asked them all to make CON checks, and Harry's failure was signalled by a loud sneeze. He was starting to shake with the cold and his nose was turning red.
The investigators headed back inside to continue their discussions, just as the howling noise started again. Andy, the barman chuckled at them, telling them it was just the wind howling through the old lead mine tunnels that ran under the area, but his nervous glances at the windows betrayed his worry.
The terrifying sound seemed to make up their minds, and the investigators decided to bundle into the hired car and head up to Castle Plum, with Harry sneezing and coughing all the way.
When they arrived at the old castle they were greeted by firmly closed heavy wooden doors. The windows were all curtained, though lights could be seen behind them. The entire place had a rather eerie look, not helped by it being silhouetted against the full moon as they approached.
Hubert, ridiculously confident in his assertion that Lawrence was a werewolf and that the inhabitants of the castle needed protection, decided to take the direct approach. He went up to one of the large windows on the north wing and broke it with the butt of his rifle. The ancient glass fell into the castle with a loud crash, and a moment later a door opened at the side of the castle.
A rather startled butler peered out at the group, and Hubert lead the way again, pushing the old man back into what seemed to be a large pantry, despite his protests. For once, Harry, feeling rather sorry for himself, decided to stay in the car where it was warm. It turned out to be a wise decision.
Hubert was on a roll. The butler was soon joined by the elderly Lord Arthur Vane, whose family had owned the castle for generations. His anger at having his house broken into was apparent for all to see, but it did not stop Hubert from declaring them all in danger and checking them for long and pointed eyeteeth!
|Something gave Hubert the idea that Lawrence might be a werewolf...|
Lawrence Vane was the next to join the party, alerted by the commotion. He demanded that Hubert unhand his father and leave, and when this did not happen he left the room briefly, only to return with a fencing foil that had the tip removed. The butler had sneaked off during the confrontation and called the local constabulary
There was a stand off between the Vanes and the investigators. Hubert was insisting they all be tied up for their own protection, whilst the rest of the investigators hung back, unsure of how to handle their new companion. Then the sounds of a siren were heard and after a few moments Hubert Tumwell arrived to save the day.
Hubert (Hew, not Tumwell) was promptly arrested and the rest of the group were warned not to make any more trouble and to be at the Laughing Horse in the morning for a dressing down. He drove off, taking Hubert to the police station in Derby, and leaving a shame-faced group of investigators and a furious Vane family behind.
The next morning Hubert Tumwell arrived at the Laughing Horse to give the investigators a piece of his mind. Halfway through a rather comical telling off however the door to the inn burst open and a young man entered. "Quick Hubert, it's happened again!" he shouted (in my best South Yorkshire accent).
Everyone raced outside to a stables that were situated behind the inn. Inside things were messy - something had killed and eviscerated a horse, leaving the torn and bloody remains behind to chip away at the group's sanity. Cutter spotted some bloody canine-like tracks leading away from the stable into the fields, but the rain had once more done it's job and washed them away after a short distance.
Whilst everyone was deciding what to do and Constable Tumwell was organising a clean up, a large man strode up to them angrily. It was the horse dealer John Parkins, owner of the pile of blood and guts in the stable, and also father of Lydia Parkins who had been killed in the first attack. He was furious (and also quite drunk), and blamed Lawrence Vane for the attacks, saying that Tom Corty had seen Vane near to Parkin's house on the night Lydia was killed.
Parkins then proceeded to berate the investigators and everyone else, before veering into a rant about the inequalities of the class system and how landed gentry like the Vanes would never be prosecuted for their crimes. The local reverend (and secretary for the Derwent Valley Order of the Golden Druid), Jeremy Stratton arrived and took Parkins away to console him.
The bus pulled into the village, bringing Hubert back to the group. He had been seen by a magistrate and fined £100 for trespass and damage, with a warning that any future transgression would see him locked up. Something told me that wouldn't be enough of a warning...
Rather than meet back up with the rest of the team Hubert decided that matters required a more direct approach. He collected his belongings and headed up to the hills above the village, but not before purchasing half a lamb from the butchers. Once in place he laid out a trap, using the lamb as bait and a mantrap, and settled down for a long wait under a tarp with a pair of binoculars to see what happened.
The others were coming to a similar conclusion. It was time to hunt the beast down! They made their own preparations and headed up towards Castle Plum in their car, this time determined to wait and watch. As darkness fell a storm came with it and the rain started to lash down. The investigators huddled in the car, straining to see through the misting windows, and trying to avoid Harry's sneezes. Half a mile away Hubert waited patiently.
|...but it's soooooo cute!|
Behind the clouds the full moon gave the storm an eerie glow, and before long the terrifying howling started again. Suddenly there was a huge crash, and the roof of the investigators' car crunched down as if something heavy had landed on top....
And there we left it until next time!