Monday, November 3, 2014

Victorian Gothic Playlog: London 1896 (OSR)

Our current Game!
We finished two nights of a Victorian OSR game I am DM'ing.
We are using the firearms rules, Victorian setting and classes, and everything else I have posted so far on here.

The Set Up
Three Players: One Scoundrel (James), One Explorer (Rene'), and One Physician (Edward). All fifth level. James and Rene' are both very wealthy. The Physician is not nearly so.
They are members of the Explorer's Club and have some reputation as explorers of the supernatural and strange.
Their base is in a three  story home owned by James right off the heart of downtown London, inherited from is father.
They motor around London in a steam powered horseless carriage.

Two bodies have turned up last night in alleyways in Whitechapel; both unidentified.
The PC's are called to meet with Inspector Aaron Copeland and the Coroner at the Whitechapel morgue beneath the Records building to view the bodies and consult the police.

After the events in Dracula and the player's former PC's exploits in London the existence of the supernatural is known to a select few Inspectors and Higher Ups in the London Authorities. When suspicious situations crop up members of the Explorer's Club and independant consultants are often called in to assist. The objective is to solve the crime, keep the public as unaware as possible, and protect the city.
The last thing they want is another Ripper panic as what happened when Jack the Ripper roamed the streets eight years past.

They are also informed that another consultant, a Dr. John Seward, will be arriving tomorrow.

The Corpses 
A female, probable prostitute (signs of a hard life, liquor, bad teeth, syphalis) with her left arm, clavicle, and scapula completely and surgically removed.

Two alleyways over a male, probably a Doctor or attendant, (well dressed, good teeth, no ink on hands, traces of powder under the nails) with two large puncture wounds in the neck; blood severly drained.

No identification or money on either body.

The Investigation
The PC's begin with Edward examining the bodies, confirming the Coroner's findings. He then heads to the local medical school to inquire about any new surgeons in town. That draws a zero but he does learn that distinguished surgeon Henry Frankenstein is in London to give a lecture on anatomy in two days.
James looks for anyone who might know the woman in Whitechapel but comes up empty for now.
Rene' has an artist make a detailed sketch of the woman's face to assist in the street questioning.
He then heads to the alleys where the corpses were found. Nothing is discernible in the female corpse's alley. However in the male corpse's alley the Explorer finds a gold cufflink in the trash near where the body was found. It has a stylized ankh on the face and the back has a jeweler's mark. "CM"

As night falls they meet up and retire for a meal, a drink, and cigars at the Explorer's Club.
Edward and Rene' enter the Club's library and begin to research vampire lore.
James employs a clipping agency to find any info on new surgeons or doctors in the city and all jewelers with the initials CM then returns to the Club.

Having learned basic lore on vampires (the Stoker archetype) they call Inspector Copeland, warning him that the male corpse may wake as a vampire. He takes two men and head off to the morgue.
He never calls back. The PC's decide to head to the morgue to see what has happened.
They head off in the horseless carriage.

The Morgue
The Police station is lit up and is business as usual.
The Records building/morgue is dark as it is closed for business for the night. No sign of Copeland or his men.
Really concerned about the possible vampire corpse they park the horseless carriage in the side street behind the morgue and James picks the lock on the back receiving doors.

Retrieving an electric lantern from the auto they head into the dark hallway leading to the front of the building. Wooden office doors with large smoked windows are spaced down the hallway. The try the electric light switch but no response: power must have been cut. The primitive lantern only shines out to about 20 feet. James and Rene' pull knives and take the lead with the light. Edward, armed with a lever-action carbine takes the rear.

Heading towards the front of building they come to a cross hallway.
Suddenly a black clad thief with a scarf over his lower face steps out and takes a stab at James.
A nasty knife fight ensues with the thief taking the worst of it.
As this is happening two more thieves appear from out of the darkness ahead of the Rene'. He sits his lantern down and engages one of the thieves with his push dagger, both men score hits stabbing each other deeply.
Edward opens fire and misses the third thief, shattering glass in the front door clear down the long hallway.

A lantern is lit down by the front doors. A fourth thief is seen with a lantern.
The knife fights continue.
Edward let's loose with two more shots from the carbine. The third thief takes a bullet through the head and the second shot misses the thief with the lantern down the hall.

Gunshots are heard outside as someone opens up on the front of the police station. (A diversion.)

The wounded thief fighting James has had enough and retreats down the side hallway. James lets him go.
The wounded thief fighting Rene' takes a deep knife wound to the neck and collapses.
The lantern thief takes off running towards the stairwell down to the morgue, disappearing from sight.

Rene' and James pull pistols and run down the dark hallway, not taking time to grab their lantern. Heading past the fallen thieves they see both wear a medallion: the same stylized ankh as on the cufflink.
Rene' lights a match and they head cautiously down the stairs to the morgue.

The Physician on the other hand leaps to the side of the slowly die-ing thief that Rene' jacked up.
He manages to stabilize him and heal him up to zero hp's. Aha! A prisoner. In a coma...

Meanwhile, down at the morgue door: the two heroes see a faint lantern glow behind the smokey glass.
Cautiously opening the door, they see the last thief pounding a wooden stake through the heart of the male corpse lying on the slab. Not wanting to interfere, they cautiously watch as the thief then saws the man's head off.

Ignoring the female corpse with the missing arm the thief then faces the PC's.
They try to initiate conversation (hey we're hunters too!) when he whips up a Mauser pistol and threatens to shoot them if they don't leave.
After a bit of tenseness they back out the door.
They hear the thief hightail it out the back way of the morgue, light extinguished.

The PC's rendezvous upstairs.
Things have quieted down outside as the cops are out in force looking for the men who shot the windows out of the police station.

They dump the unconscious thief in the automobile and make a search of the building.
They find Inspector Copeland and his two men, fang marks in necks, nearly drained of blood, in the land records office. They quickly take them out to give them aid. As they are leaving they notice some of the land records have been rifled, bloody hand prints on drawers and a bloody thumbprint on a half drawn folder.

After checking in with the police they get the cops to leave the crime scene at the records office alone until the party an investigate and they inform them Copeland and they two officers will be cared for.
They then head back to their house.
The wounded police are carefully watched for signs of vampirism and tended for in a bedroom on the third floor.
In the basement the unconscious thief is handcuffed to  bed and cared for as well.

They stay up til dawn making plans. James telephones the police station and have them direct Dr. Seward, when he arrives there, to come to the PC's house.
When the butler and  maid awake the PC's go to sleep for four hours, awaking at ten pm to eat and freshen up.

Day Two
The clipping agency agent delivers their report: no news of. a new surgeon or clinic. There are four jewelers in London with the initials CM but the most likely is Cedric Miller in Lambeth.

Dr. Seward arrives.
Cards and quick pleasantries are exchanged as the PC's tell their tale. Seward then relates his involvement with the Dracula incident three years earlier. Assisted by Edward, Seward examines the policemen. Their relatives are contacted for a blood transfusion and they are made comfortable. The thief is still in a coma. After explaining the precautions against a vampire (garlic, crosses, mirrors) Seward takes leave of the PC's to settle into his hotel. He will meet with them later that evening.

More Investigations
The PC's head out to check on a few things.
As they do Rene' glimpses what he thinks is a large figure in black watching them from the rooftops.
Spooked, they head back inside to get their rifles. The butler is instructed to carry out the vampire proofing of the house. They stop at a local gunshop and purchase more ammo and another heavy rifle.

Rene' and James head to the jewelry shop of Cedric Miller. Cards are given. He identifies the ankh cufflink as his work. He made four pair for a Mr. Corben, address unknown. The description of the man who placed the order and came to retrieve it was given: short, red hair, freckled, rumpled clothing. It was doubtful his was Mr. Corben himself. He also viewed the ankh necklace and found an Egyptian mark on the back, probably the jeweler's mark.
The boys then headed to the British Museum where James managed to sweet talk his way past a receptionist to get five minutes with a Professor Anderson, Egyptologist. More cards are exchanged. He confirmed that the mark and the stylized ankh were symbols of a minor cult which had flourished in Cairo in the 1830's but had though to have died out over twenty years ago. He eagerly agreed to view any more objects they might find.
They then spend the rest of the afternoon getting copies of the prostitute's drawing, having tea in a small park, and walking around Whitechapel. They hit paydirt at the Ten Bells Tavern. A group of pimps know the girl as Anna, missing two days now. She was last seen getting into the carriage of a white haired gentlemen over by Stepney.
Drinks were had all around.

Edward, meanwhile, headed back to the medical college see if anything new was happening. He discovered a body had been stolen from the college. It was all very hush hush. He then ran into Henry Frankenstein in the library, reading and anatomy book and sitting next to his medical bag. Frankenstein looked startled to see Edward, he obviously recognized him though they had never met. Edward came up and made introductions and small talk, looking forward to the lecture. Frankenstein concluded the meeting by asking him if he knew of a Dr. Emil Pretoreus, of Germany, in the city. Edward did not and they parted ways with Edward heading off to study updated medical texts.
Edward noted that Dr. Frankenstein's bag appeared to contain much bulkier equipment than normal medical tools.

Later Edward received a call from the Whitechapel police station.
The body of the beheaded man had been claimed for burial.
Edward immediately headed to the station and found the following: One Dr. Pretoreus, with a letter of introduction from the Royal Surgeon's College, had collected the deceased: Andrew Kaufman, medical assistant. Kaufman had a home address in Walworth, across the bridge.

Leaving the station he headed off to find his colleagues.
He didn't make it past the dark alleyway near the station: A gigantic yellowed hand wrapped in a ragged coat reached out and yanked him into the alleyway.
Lifted into the air he faced a 7 foot tall, yellow-eyed and cadaver pallored face with black lips and snarling teeth. The bald gaunt head was covered in surgical scars.
The ragged black clad creature told him point blank to stop investigating Dr. Pretoreus or he would die.
He then hurled him out of the alley and ran away with incredible speed.

He soon found his housemates.
Edward mentioned nothing of the warning, only of the information about Dr. Pretoreus and Andrew Kaufman's address.

They stopped at the records office on their way home. They had been given access to the office where they had found the bloody hand and thumb prints on the records. Nothing had been touched by the police.
They discover that the file hanging out of the drawer is for a property, a house, in Stepney.
It was sold to a Mr. Corben. The solicitor was one RM Renfield, the same solicitor whom helped Dracula buy property around London before going mad and being replaced by Jonathan Harker.

Night Visitor
They regroup at dusk at their house, now decorated with garlic, crosses, and mirrors.
Dr. Seward and family members of the policemen arrive and the blood transfusions begin in the third floor bedrooms. After several hours the policemen feel better and the family members are sent home. Inspector Copeland's pistol is returned to him.

As they are discussing the case and tending to the policemen's meal Rene' and Seward both hear a loud thump on the peaked tiled roof. The sound was loud enough to be heard through the attic above them.

Rene' grabs his elephant gun and pulls down the attic trap door, squirming into the large junk filled room.
James has the butler bring him his shotgun and opens a window.
Edward grabs a poker and begins heating it in the fire.

Rene' hears something big walking above him on the roof. He reaches up and knocks on the wood.
A large hole is smashed in the roof and tiles as a large yellow hand reaches down for him.
Rene' fires and misses with ihs first barrel. The yellow-eyed cadaverous face sneers as him through the hole.

Suddenly a loud shot rings out from a nearby alley. The Creature is hit with a massive slug in it's side, knocking it sideways with a roar. It attempts to flee but Rene' blasts it in the hip with the second barrel of the elephant rifle. With a howl it runs across the slanted roof and leaps the ten feet to the neighbors roof.

James sees the Creature leap across the way and blasts it with his shotgun. The furious and severly wounded Creature slips in his own blood on the neighbors slanted tile roof and falls three stories to the cobblestones, disappearing from sight.

Rene' pulls himself onto the roof, reloading his rifle.
James looks down and sees Henry Frankenstein coming out of the alley reloading a massive howdah pistol. James hollers that the Creature fell on the other side of the neighbors building.
Frankenstein nods and heads that way.

Rene' leaps across the alley onto the neighbors roof, slick with dark blood. He looks down but the Creature is gone, leaving a massive quantity of blood on the cobblestones. Frankenstein is there and wishes to talk to the PC's. Rene' agrees and makes his way back across to their own roof.

Meeting with Frankenstein, who requests a brandy, he tells his story:
He and Pretoreous were colleagues in Europe. Travelling to his family's castle they discovered a hidden copy of his ancestor, Victor Frankenstein's journal. Pretoreous poisoned Henry and fled with the journal and it's secrets.
Henry Frankenstein has hunted Pretoreous for over a year. Knowing he would return to London where he studied, Frankenstein has come to kill him, any Creature Pretoreous has created, and destroy the journal and notes once and for all.

He knows nothing about Dracula, Mr. Corben, nor any of the others.
He has been staking out the PC's house when they became involved with the dead prostitute case. That's how he recognized Edward and he saw the Creature following them during the day. He waited to trap and kill it.

And that's where we ended for now.
A Vampire. Frankenstein. A Cult. And two houses to check out.

No comments:

Post a Comment