Horror on the Orient Express - Total Recap!

The Blood Red Fez - Scenario 3 part 5
Baron von Hofler enters the frey

We left last session with the investigators arriving at Vienna Westbahnhof early evening at 17:50 pm Thursday 11th January 1893. Outside the window they could see Baron von Hofler arguing with a young woman in emotional distress. The argument ended with the Baron giving the young lady a good ransack and she left quicker than the rain drops fell over the imperial capital.

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The investigators were eager to great their ally. Professor Smith was obviously impressed by the baron and also an important ally with his financial muscles and knowledge and expertise of the ockult.

Baron von Hofler

Perhaps they were a little too eager as John Yip and Frank early on rolled “97” and “98” in Credit Rating and Fast Talk. The Baron sat down his feet and also later complained to Hermann about “Peasant Bavarians not knowing the difference between Göthe and Schiller”. He also seemed disturbed by the Russian contingent present as their cousins the Serb peasants were a nuisance to the Empire’s Southern parts. (Little did he know that this conflict would lead to the Great War in two decades time)

The investigators were invited to his compartment and just to make sure that he was the real Baron they asked for his passport, and also tested his knowledge of the fez. They presented one of the fake ones as the real fez, but the Baron complained immediately and apparently his knowledge was such that he easily could differ a fake from the real one. Content the conversation continued.

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The Baron went through the Apocrypha of the Fez as the investigators had not broken its language barrier. The investigators gained +2 % Cthulhu Mythos and lost 1d4 Sanity. They were not entitled to check for spells, but are allowed to do so later when they have read the Apocrypha themselves. They still have their own ex with them.

The investigators told the Baron about their Whispering Fez tome that they found in the Myers’ compartment, and he was delighted. “I have to read it now!” he commanded but they agreed to wait until 02:00 am when Hermann was supposed to finish it.

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Hermann continued his studies of the Whispering Fez. The real tome of the fez that as said to reveal all the secrets and perhaps even how to destroy it. We still cherish the “01” roll of Hermann’s player for Persian…

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The investigators decided to tell the Baron about their time travel, or travel inside the diary of Professor Smith. He asked for technical evidence and Frank showed him his Tommy gun and Hermann showed the license of his Mercedes 1920s sportscar. The Baron replied that he would believe them. He was troubled by the fact that the professor was badly hurt in the fire. He continued that they rather believe him as well when he told them that this would be the most dangerous challenge they had ever undertaken with great Mythos powers working behind the schemes. “The fez is not just that ridiculous hat. It is also a portal to something beyond our own reality. Something that wants to come here.” He asked the investigators to be prepared to die for their cause.

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Needless to say dinner was rather dull after their conversation. Frank, Lord Fyrom Squibb and John Yip joined the baron for dinner. Hermann continued the studies accompanied by Colonel Williams. Their compartment hid the treasures of the Blood Red Fez and the tome the Whispering Fez.

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Also in the dining car was Aileen MacGregor, tending to Mrs Myers who was still in chock. Despite the investigators recommendation that she would exit at Vienna to see Dr Sigmund Freud, she decided to stay on the train hoping to save her greatly ill husband.

The Russians stuck to themselves parleying in crude French. The investigators were still not sure if the lipstick on Pytor Trubosky, the Count’s cousin, came from the Countess or her companion Karla Minkoff. They had seen a blond woman quickly disappear into Trubosky’s compartment in the middle of the night last night. They could not exclude MacGregor either as she had light red hair and in the dim light of the train corridor it was still a possibility.

They also spotted a Japanese woman dressed in purple kimono with a scarlet dragon, that stuck to herself. She nodded gently and courteously to the others. As Frank, and later John Yip, tried to get closer to her, they noticed that she had blue eyes…

Dinner was over and done and the Baron went to his quarters to get some rest as he was planning to take over the Whispering Fez. They agreed that the tome would be delivered to his compartment around 02:00 am and Hermann would knock a secret combination of 2-1-2.

Hermann and Colonel Williams remained in their compartment.

Frank, John Yip and Lord Fyrom Squibb decided to look into the Japanese woman. Something was wrong there. A Japanese lady with blue eyes? They slid a note under her door: “Quickly come to the Salon car. You know who I am”. And then they hid in the next compartment using their main key that they received from the Chef du Train, Patrick Rosseau. They listened carefully ears close to the door. They heard her door open, but then nothing. John Yip exited and went to the salon. There she was! They met in the passage between the cars and as she passed he pulled her black hair. It came off. A wig! She turned around and punched towards his face. John ducked away but she pulled a gun and told him to nack off. John used grapple to disarm her and was joined by his friends Lord Squibb and Frank. “Who are you? Cultists?” “What, hell no!” answered John Yip. “Are you?”. She shook her head. The guards went down. “My name is Ilsa von Hofler. Im the daughter of Baron von Hofler. My father is sick, very sick and also possibly dangerous. I have posted men in Budapest and the family doctor in Belgrade. I aim to kidnap my father and force him to Doctor Sigmund Freund in Vienna. Hopefully we can cure him there.”

The investigators were stunned.

Hermann was closing in on the last chapters of the Whispering Fez. His NSDAP pin was strictly attached to his black jacket. By the door, Colonel Williams was checking his .32 revolver. Somebody knocked on the door. Hermann and Col. Williams looked at each other. They expected no visitors at this time. “Who is it?” demanded Colonel Williams. “It is I, Baron von Hofler. Open up I have urgent errand with you.” It sounded like him and he had knocked the secret code as well 2-1-2. But why was he early? They had agreed to deliver the tome to his compartment at 02:00 am.

Colonel Williams opened the door. “We must progress with speed. Our enemies will strike soon. We must talk about this now” The investigators were concerned. Why this sudden change? Colonel Williams agreed to follow him to his compartment and Hermann stayed on alone, now only 3 hours from completion of the secret tome.

As Colonel Williams entered the baron’s compartment he was offered some obstler. “To the empire!” excelled the imperialist and downed a swig of purest fruit fluid. “Colonel Williams, you must understand that this is beyond even your worst nightmares. They are coming for us and they are coming now! Do you understand!!?? They are here!!! They will devour us!!!” The Baron worked himself up in a frenzy and Colonel Williams caught something growing in the Baron’s eyes, something burning red. That was the last thing that Colonel Williams remembered…

At the same time Frank, Lord Squibb and John Yip befriended the young woman claiming to be Ilsa von Hofler. They understood that the baron might pose a threat and hurried to Hermann’s compartment. “He left with the Baron”. The investigators pulled their guns and all of them headed for the Baron’s compartment. Ilsa and John Yip brought with them Ilsa’s laudanum and hypodermic needle, as well a rag with chloroform.

Frank opened the door with the master key but was fired upon immediately. The bullets missed him but surely the shooter intended to kill. What was going on here? As Frank threw himself to the ground the others stayed put. Was Colonel Williams still alive and who was firing at them from the Baron’s compartment? Why was the Baron behaving so weird all of a sudden?

To be continued…

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The Blood Red Fez - Scenario 3 part 4
Menkaph comes! Thursday, January 11th 1893

Frank knew they would come. They would never give up The Whispering Fez tome. Many had already sacrificed their lives for this ancient tome of the Mythos. Frank made sure his .45 Thompson submachine gun was fully loaded with hard hitting .45 calibre bullets. Hermann loaded his shotgun and in the next compartment Lord Squibb and Colonel John Williams got their gear in shape as well. The investigators remained in their compartments but were ready. Frank maintained the watch with the door open and 99 % Spot Hidden and 95 % Listen would guard against any surprise attacks. In the furthest compartment away from the enemy (nr 1) John Yip and Max von Moser prepared to defend the tome and the fez.

The corridor was silent. Egorov was on guard outside Count Razumovsky; Kapok guarded Menkaph’s door, and the Myers’ door was guarded by a Train guard with a double-barreled shotgun.

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The clock struck 01:00, one hour after midnight.

Suddenly the two Turkish cultists came running from the top of the corridor with drawn Yatagans! Kapok pulled his as well and rushed towards the investigators compartments. Kapok, standing outside compartment nr 7 was closer to the investigators. Frank could also see two Shadows flying down the walls of the corridor in ferocious speed. They came for the tome.

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CONTAAAAAAAAAACT!!!” Frank yelled and kicked up the door. He and Hermann stepped out and caught the shadows. Immune to bullets, the investigators sorted to their gas light lanterns instead swinging wildly. This was the first line of defense. The 2nd line of defense was established by Lord From Squibb and Colonel John Williams who dash out from their compartment as well. These two lines of defense was all that was between them and the tome.

We set up the order of initiative like this:

1) 2 x Shadows
2) Frank Patterson
3) Turkish Cultist nr 1
4) Colonel Williams
5) Turkish Cultist nr 2
6) Hermann Müller
7) Kapok
8) Egorov
9) Lord Squibb
10) Train guard nr 1
11) Menkaph
12) Hermann attack nr 2
13) Train guard nr 2 (in the other Sleeping car but will join when he hears the gun shots)
14) John Yip (passive but might join later)
15) Count Razumovsky (as above)

The players were concerned that the enemy had 4 guys in the top 6 initiative. This would be hard.

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As the Shadows entered melee all the four investigators resorted immediately to their gas lights and hammered them. Hermann had succeeded with a Mythos roll and knew they were prone to the light and would eventually flee if not destroyed. But the Shadows seemed to hit with every attack and Frank and Hermann started getting low hit points in single digits. As Kapok and the cultists approached as well, Frank pulled his .45 Thompson submachine gun. Egorov and the Train guard tried to hinder the cultists and one was badly injured by the Train guard’s shot gun blast. Menkaph fearing to lose the initiative cast a spell on Egorov who seems to turn and follow the cultists.

Frank fired away 20 bullets. The player chose to roll for each hit. Kapok who by now was at point-blank (doubled hit chance) and cone of fire (30 %) was hit by 4/4 bullets (4 hits out of 4 designated). He died instantly. The 1st cultist was further away (no point blank) but still in the cone of fire (30 %). His fortune was bigger as he dodged the first bullet and the others missed (0/5!). The player was taken by this. The 2nd Cultist was hit by 3/5 and died also. As Menkaph was preparing a 2nd spell, six bullets came his way. He dodged the first one but was struck by three (4/6). Menkaph died in the 3rd round of battle only.

Unfortunately Egorov was hit by two stray bullets and killed as well. Count Razomovsky, the 2nd Train guard and John Yip joined the battle now and the tide seemed to change for the better. The Shadows were tough as they seemed to hit each and every round. Frank and Hermann was down at 5 and 7 hit points respectively. John Yip seized the moment and readied his camera and flash bulb. He fired away each round with the flash causing the Shadows 1d6 damage. The Shadows fled and entered the Myers’ room. The investigators followed suit and John Yip flasked the compartment. Silence. The compartment was cleansed from evil and the battle was won.

Prelude

The train staff gathered. Chef du Train Patrick Rosseau; Conducteur Henri Peeters and the Train guards. Count Razumovsky and the Train guard bare witness that the Turkish men and assaulted without any previous provocation. They were under Menkaph’s command. The investigators had nothing to fear, the train staff even thanked them for vigorously defeating these terrorists. It was obviously a political attack aimed at the Count. The police in Strasburg would be informed and the bodies extracted on arrival 03:43 this morning.

As the bodies were stock piled in the latter luggage car, the investigators decided to guard them in case they would resurrect like poor Mathew Pook. Menkaph and the two cultists wore the red fezes.

Count Razumovsky wanted a chat with the investigators. Political attack against him? Why had the cultists passed his compartment and continued towards the investigators? Who were they really and what was going on here? The Count demanded answers! The investigators eluded the questions courteously. They assured the Count they were the “good guys” but there were greater forces behind that they could not reveal at this moment. “Do you know who I am!!??” instead the Count. The investigators seemed to get away still on medium-to-good terms with the Count anyway.

03:43 Strasburg

The German police were efficient and only asked couple of questions. Turkish extremists were the culprits and only one civilian dead, Egorov.

The train continued in tranquility and speed:

06:41 Stuttgart
08:18 Ulm
09:00 Breakfast
10:21 Munich
12:46 Salzburg
17:50 Vienna Westbahnhof

The investigators noticed that Mr Myers condition had worsened and that physical disfiguration was continuing. They posted a Train guard outside his door, as well as Frank, Lord Squibb and Colonel Williams. Mr Myers had been tied down heavily as well and the door locked. Hermann continued with his studies of The Whispering Fez, and Max and John Yip guarded the artifacts in their compartment behind a locked door.

The breakfast was a slow dull experience. Aileen tried to feed Mrs Myers who was barely conscious. The Countess babbled continuously with her companion Karla Minkoff. They were joined after a while with the Count and his cousin Pytor Trubosky. Trubosky complained to the investigators that they had not alerted him earlier. “I am a sword master and could have helped. Such a waste that you let poor Egorov fall to the hands of dirty turks.” The investigators ignored him and Frank noticed a hint of lipstick on his neck.

Getting closer to Vienna the investigators contemplated sending Mrs Myers to the renowned psychiatrist Dr Sigmund Freud. They would send him a letter on arrival to secure the best interests of Mrs Myers.

Arriving at Vienna

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The rain was pounding Vienna Westbahnhof. The investigators were thrilled to meet with Professor Smith’s friend and ally, Baron von Hofler. This was the station where he would enter. As they looked out the window they saw him standing there arguing with a young woman half his age. She was screaming at him and almost pulling him by the collar. He yelled back and turned around in haste, his servants following with heavy trunks of luggage. The young woman ran away seemingly crying. The Baron entered the 2nd car behind the investigators car.

Baron von Hofler

As the investigators prepared to meet with Baron von Hofler, many questions circled in their heads. Had they really defeated the enemy or what would await them in Constantinople? Was Selim Makryat aware of their arrival? The nemesis of Professor Smith… Checking his guns Frank was pleased the enemy had bitten the bullet. “Plenty more where those came from” he thought to himself and closed his eyes leaning towards the walls of the empty corridor.

To be continued…

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Who is the mystery man "J Y"?
Caligula gets a postcard...

A mystery postcard arrived the other day. Being the world’s most famous Game Keeper I get a lot of email and stuff sent to me. But this one was hilarious. Signed “J Y” (J.Y. initials probably) and asking me whether tabletop role playing games will hit golden age or die crumbling.

My answer?

What do you think! Let me know in “comments”…

A great reward will be given to the person helping me to reveal the sender.

Here is the postcard front and back:

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The back: (use Google translate for English)

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The Blood Red Fez - Scenario 3 part 3
Departure from London, Wednesday 10th January 1893

Departure

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Wednesday 10th January had arrived and the investigators said good-bye to their good friend and hurried to Victoria Station in London. They would take the 10 am train to Dover where a steamer was awaiting to take them across the channel. On the train to Dover they made friends with a Scottish upper class young woman by the name of Aileen MacGregor. They had a pleasant trip together and she even had some Scotch Whisky with the good spirited investigators.

Aileen MacGregor

Aileen was asking them questions to their whereabouts and backgrounds, but the investigators eluded her curiosity gracelessly and courteously. They seemed antipathetic towards her and listened carefully to her story about trying to investigate the Armenian killings by the Ottoman Empire in the Eastern part of the Empire. She would look for clues in Constantinople, but also enter on a daring journey to Armenia itself.

They arrived at Calais on the French side 13:40 pm and spent couple of hours there waiting for the connecting train to Cahlons-sur-Marne. Finally at 22:26 pm they joined the original Orient Express train and checked into double compartments 1, 2 and 3.

The following investigators were now lodged in:

Colonel John Williams
Frank Patterson
Hermann Müller
John Yip
Lord Fyrom Squibb
Max von Moser

John Yip had bought two boxes exactly the same as the one containing the blood red fez. They had also bought similar fezes and put in the boxes to distract any potential suitors. For easy reference John Yip marked the box containing the real blood red fez

The Orient Express

Frank Patterson and Lord Fyrom Squibb wanted to scout the train and the other four remained in their compartments. John Yip and Hermann Müller stayed with the box containing the blood red box, and Max von Moser and Colonel John Williams took care of the two fake ones.

Conducteur Henri Peeters

They soon befriended the Conducteur, Henri Peters, both with positive Credit Rating rolls but also a very tasteful tip of 10 pounds sterling. Henri told them a little bit about the passengers on the train. He mentioned “the Russians” and “that weird Oriental man who I dont like. His name is Menkaph”. The players smiled. Bentley Burnham had told them the truth. Their nemesis and kult leader Menkaph was on this very train. Frank fingered his .45 revolver with ease.

Menkaph

Frank and Lord Squibb scouted the train and ended up in the Smoking and Salon Car where several people had gathered for a late night drink and chat. In the main bar were three Russian men conversing. Lord Squibb approached them and actually missed his Credit Rating roll, but Frank Patterson nailed it ironically. They more or less befriended Count Razumosky, but his entourage were harder to charm. Egorov, his servant, and Trubosky, his cousin. Lord Squibb would squander about his aristocratic background and Frank badmouthing “the reds”. The Count smiled and wished them good night as he withdrew after some 15 minutes small talk.

Further inside the Salon car was Menkaph talking very low to a man with a red fez in front of him across the table. Next to Menkaph was a man standing at his flank. Menkaph wore a fez as well, and a violet opera cape and stage-villain mustache. He moved his hands and arms in grand demeanor to underscore his point as theatrically as possible. Two tables away was Aileen MacGregor reading and making some notes. She seemed busy and did not notice the investigators.

Hieronymous Menkaph

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The players discussed what to do. They were only two investigators here and now, but both Frank and Lord Squibb were able combatants. Should they attack? Perhaps not a good idea. There were three enemies in total, and Menkaph with two body guards and fellow cultists might prove quite a challenge. There was also train staff in the Salon car that might see the investigators as bad guys if they open up fire unprovoked. They decided to wait.

After about half an hour (23:15 pm) Menkaph and his company rose and was about to leave. Lord Squibb passed them and as he did tried to pickpocket Menkaph. He missed his roll and one of the body guards locked his hand in a firm grip. Menkaph and the other follower halted quickly and turned around. Frank grabbed his gun but did not pull it out just yet.

“You should be careful where you put your hands so you don’t lose them” Menkaph said and smiled wryly. Lord Squibb returned fire with a sarcasm. Menkaph warned that if they did not stay away or back down eternal pain and suffering would follow in the investigators path. Masks were off. Both parties knew very well who they were and what the struggle was about.

With those words he and his followers left the Salon car and headed towards the compartment cars. “Making new friends already?” Aileen smeared at the investigators. Frank and Lord Squibb returned to their friends in haste and reconvened. What should they do now? They called on Conducteur Henry and got all the passengers location in the compartments. (see separate post ahead). Kaporov was the name of the body guard without the fez, and the other with the fez shared compartment with someone in the second car. Their names were Cürik and Atatürket.

Kapok

The investigators conferred. What should they do? Attack Menkaph in his compartment? They agreed that John Yip and Max von Moser would guard the blood red fez, and the other four would make an offensive strike-team. They started to survey the corridor and the car. They saw someone quickly dash into compartment nr 10 but could not identify who. It looked like a woman with blond hair let lose (excluding Aileen from the possible ones as she has red hair).

With Spot Hidden 99 % and Listen 95 % Frank went through the corridor and listen at all compartments. At compartment nr 6 he heard crying and sobbing. Conferring with the others they decided to act. Frank, Lord Squibb, Colonel Williams, and Hermann returned and knocked briskly on the door. “Who is it?” a yell female voice called out. “We are concerned of your well-being, open up the door”. After a while and some more brisk knocking the door opened. The compartment was pitch black, seemed almost darker than the winter night outside.

Elizabeth “Ellie” Myers

As they parleyed with the woman they realized she was deepen sad, almost in catatonic state. She told them that her husband had been sick ever since they came to Paris where they had met Menkaph. The investigators approach her husband and in the dark they can still see from their portable light that he has a blood red fez on him. Suddenly the investigators are attacked by two shadow creatures and a wild fight sets off. The investigators defeat them but take some damage. Sanity still sound. But the noise has alerted everyone and doors are opening and train staff come wondering. As does Menkaph and his bodyguard Karpov. They look with drilling eyes on the investigators. As the dust has settled, Menkaph’s two thugs stand guard outside his door. The investigators notify the train staff to Mr Myers condition and Max von Moser pretends to be a doctor. An awry feeling starts setting upon the train and its passengers. With sleight of hand the investigators manage to take the much wanted tome The Whispering Fez from in under Mr Myers pillow.

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The investigators hurry to their compartments with the tome, but notice that Menkaph and his servants stare at them with hatred in their eyes. Surely they will never let the investigators escape with this tome of theirs. Prepare for battle!

PS: A funny thing was that Hermann rolled “01” for Persian 05 % and hence successfully has started to study the Whispering Fez. Incredible!

To be continued…

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The game table
At Caligula's place

We play every other Tuesday at my place in Stockholm, Sweden. Usually we start playing at 18:00 CET but players arrive earlier and bring food and drinks. During the game we usually drink tea. Currently tea from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) that Mats got from a friend over there.

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The picture above was taken from one of the players, my cousin Christer. He plays the German author Hermann of the occult and Nazi party member. He also plays Frank Patterson, a hardcore police detective of the Scotland Yard.

In the background you see me standing up doing a dialogue in character (forgot who I was playing at the moment). I do both narrative and in-character during the game, and answer questions from the players. The group is very experienced and so far they have managed almost 3 scenarios without and deaths or madness.

Horror on the Orient Express is the biggest campaign ever made for Call of Cthulhu (perhaps the biggest for all rpg, not sure) with 19 scenarios and a huge box with books and other material. There are hordes of NPCs, information and clues. How can we keep track on it all? One way is this chronicle. Here we write the story and both I the Game Keeper and the players can log on and check the history and references. There is also a particular “Characters” folder where you can see all the relevant NPCs and the players can make online notes and comments directly here at our page. Thats is great!

We have also put together an “Investigator’s Diary” where handouts and evidence is collected and glued into a booklet with player comments added. See pictures here below.

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And here is from the inside:

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Next session is scheduled Tuesday 16th of August 2016.

Caligula

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The Blood Red Fez - Scenario 3 part 2
London, Monday 8th January 1893

The Oriental Club

Already at an early age Professor Smith was already a member of the Oriental Club. His extensive trips and research to Constantinople had advanced his notoriety. As the smoky fumes of Lapsang tea rose towards the investigators, Professor Smith told them of his story.

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The Story

Some years ago while in Constantinople he had come across a devious cult led by the dreadful Selim Makryat. Professor Smith opposed him and now knows from his friend Professor Demir that it would mean his death to return. He implores the investigators to take the blood red fez to Professor Demir in Constantinople where it will be forever destroyed. The train departs Wednesday 10th January, leaving time for research and preparations. The mission is financed by Professor Smith’s trusted friend and ally, Baron von Hofler who also will join the mission in Vienna. Von Hofler can be counted on even in the most grave conditions, the professor assures.

The Telegram

Prior to leaving the Oriental Club, the professor also produces a telegram from Professor Demir in Constantinople. He confirms he will meet the investigators at the Sirkeci station and that they must be very careful as their lives are in peril. Under no circumstances should they try to wear the fez or even destroy it as it is indestructible.

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The Apocrypha of the Fez

The investigators had some time to prepare and rest. They did extensive research on the fez and gained the Apocrypha of the Fez. However, their lack of Eastern languages restricted them from successfully understanding it. Annoyed they continued their investigations in London. The Apocrypha will take 2 weeks of study to completely master so they decided to bring it along.

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Bentley Burnham

Extensive research at poor Mr. Pooks quarters found his diary with detailed information about the proceedings of Menkaph, the leader of the kultist ring. It was Menkaph who had the fez and Pook stole it from him. He also writes about Menkaph’s minions as he has many followers. The investigators also found out about a certain Bentley Burnham and traced his home. Arriving there late in the evening they bounced on his door and he opened up unaware that he was now the hunted and not the hunter…

The players did this really cool actually. They were well aware that Bentley’s right hand was behind his back holding a pistol. But they were four, they had bigger guns, and they were experienced. They talked straight to Bentley after he first tried to deceive them with his journalist alias even showing them his extremely well made fake id. We role-palyed this scene hard core but the players would not let him off the hook. Finally he broke. He offered them to reveal everything if they would give him free passage and give him 100 USD to leave with the next boat to Ireland. After some internal discussions among the players they agreed to his proposal. After all he was just hired help and not part of the actual cult.

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The players handled this part very well and as you can tell it is a very experienced group. I will be back soon and post from our session as they enter the Orient Express heading for Constantinople.

Caligula

To be continued….

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The Blood Red Fez - scenario 3
London, Sunday 7th of January 1893

The Investigators were back in London after the horrific Doom Train adventure. Perhaps it was not all bad. They had learnt a new spell, Doom Gate, and dimension travelling offers a great last resort escape.

They were now ready to leave for their continental trip, picking up the missing pieces of the Simulacrum. Tickets and train waiting at Victoria station. Hermann Müller started reading Professor Smith’s diary. The German occult author, and active NSDAP member, was a secret type not sharing all his thoughts with the group. Rumors had it he was financed and backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler himself, an avid occultist. As Hermann started reading the diary, the group of investigators swirled in time and place. Suddenly they were back in the heart of London. But something had changed. It looked different. People looked different. They had traveled back in time and plane to London of 1893.

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They had all their equipment and gear ready with them. “The diary was the key to travel to another time and place. Instead of experiencing Professor Smiths writing, we will now experience it first hand. Be ware.” Hermann checked his weapons, as did the others. Frank Patterson, tough ex London Detective; Colonel John Williams of the United States Marine Corps; and Lord Fyrom Squibb, English aristocrat. They were now seasoned investigators of the occult and the mythos.

A bell-boy came running over the street towards them. “Sires, Sires, important message for you!” It was a message from Professor Smith. Please hurry to 5 Durward Street. For God’s sake hurry and bring a gun.

“Slum area. Rough neighborhood. Be vigilant.” Said Patterson, one hand firmly resting on his revolver.

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Arriving at Durward street Professor Smith granted them. “Please follow me”. They ran inside and up the stairs. But previous to enter the building, Frank Patterson noticed someone further down the block observing them, wearing something on his head…

Upstairs they saw a human male, passed out on the bed in a a dark room. Doctor of Medicine Hobbs was attending to the man. Several days of mysterious chanting and screaming had been taken place here and the landlady, a Mrs Grim was clearly upset.
The man wore a blood red fez that had grown physically stuck onto his head. The investigators tried removing the fez but a terrible nausea hit them as they touched the fez and they could hear whispers inside their heads. When studying the fez closer they also heard a humming sound from inside it and noticed unearthly hieroglyph-like signs on it that seemed to glow through the fabric.

Suddenly the young man started screaming and a ghastly wind blew out the candles, blackening the entire room. The man had turned into a vicious monster and grabbed poor Dr Hobbs and bit him ferociously in the face like a wild beast. Professor Smith managed to flee the room in panic but the investigators attacked the creature to save Dr. Hobbs.

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The battle was fierce, poor light and super human strength in that vile monster was a challenge. But the Investigators defeated it and collected the blood red fez that had now fallen off the dead creature.

Professor Smith took care of the authorities and Dr. Hobbs was immediately taken to hospital disfigured for life. Smith and the investigators brought with them the mysterious fez and went to Smith’s estate. Gathered in his large living room, in front of the fire, he told them that the young man was a student Matthew Pook, sent by his friend Professor Demir of Istanbul. “We are up against a very dangerous Turkish cult. I need you to travel as fast as possible to Istanbul with this fez, hand it over to my friend and ally Professor Demir in Istanbul, and make sure it is for ever destroyed.”

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The investigators agreed. The Orient Express would leave tomorrow evening, leaving some time for research. A powerful ally of Professor Smith, Baron von Hofler, will join the investigators in Vienna, continuing with them all the way to Istanbul. Baron von Hofler is not only a trusted friend and ally of Professor Smith, he is also the financier of this mission.

As the investigators got ready for night and watched out the windows, they could see a small group of men wearing fezes observing the house.

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The estate was like a fort and the investigators took turns in watching over night, and the others locked inside their rooms. Professor Smith would do some further research and they agreed to meet for breakfast 9:00 am at The Oriental Club.

To be continued…

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The Doom Train - Scenario 2 - part 2
The investigator's make it back!

The sight of Randolph Alexis in the midst of human remains bothered the investigators. The man was obviously a maniac. even more disturbing the remaining watch with the initials of his son, Albert Alexis. Devouring his son the ultimate step of insanity.

As the investigators parleyed the crazed senior Alexis, the zombie ghosts of the past started climbing the roof and advancing down the hallway. There were many of them and the investigators braced themselves for a fight for their lives.

Players were lucky with their Sanity rolls, making them all for only -1 for witnessing the arrival of the Doom Train in Henry Stanley’s room; -1 for watching the undead; and the mandatory 3 for getting to grip with their situation. “0” penalty for making the San-roll seeing Alexis senior train tracks.

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This was certainly a race against time. The German author of the occult, and Nazi-party member, Hermann Müller, tried desperately to ignite the train track. The other three investigatirs fired at will with guns and even entered melee combat. The crazed Alexis senior laughed with eyes open wide. Did he want to die? The poor Henry Stanley shivered in the corner by the seats.

Herman Müller cracked the code and realized the 8-format track had to be elevated. As the melee battle almost turned disastrous, the Doom Train again changed dimension and the investigators could see dark, solid objects outside the window. The grey mists had vanished. Joy turned into fear as they heard the familiar sound of a train whistle coming from further ahead. Collision course.

“Quick! Hurry!” shouted a stressed Frank Patterson, still his .45 revolver in hand. “Jump out the train or we die!” Some hesitation among the players but a second full length train whistle from the meeting train convinced them. They brought Henry Stanley along with them but left Alexis senior behind. They all jumped and managed without major injury. Colonel John Williams saw Alexis senior jump out the other side of the train.

A huge collision rocked the English country side and fires were burning everywhere. Bodies of killed passengers were all over the place. Colonel Williams kept his cool. “Randolph managed to get out. We must track him down. Follow me!” Colonel Williams, Frank Pattersson and Lord Fyrom Squibb set out after him. There was a light veil of snow over the marshlands so they found him after less thaqn 20 minutes search. He was very old now, something had stolen his life energy as the train moved back to earth time. He was weak and frail.

As the authorities came for the crash later that early morning, the investigators handed over Alexis to the police and helped Stanley get back to London. This awful event was just one step to getting to the real issue. Helping their long old friend Professor Smith solve a Turkish mystery.

To be continued….

Please keep following our group as we play the world’s largest Call of Cthulhu campaign. The group consist of me Caligula and players: Christer Bermar, Mats Georgson, Henric Lau Eriksson, and Michael Padocka. More posts and updates will follow shortly.

Caligula

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The Doom Train - Scenario 2
London, January 4th, 1923

Something was mysteriously intertwined with that train set. Herman Müller researched and found that Randolph Alexis was a man of notoriety within the occult circles of London. This was an interest he also shared with his son, Albert Alexis. Father and son both disappeared mysteriously.

The investigators mounted the train set and started it. They paused suddenly to discuss yet again. “Are we sure about this” asked Lord Fyrom Squibb. No we are not, replied the German National Socialist and occult researcher Herman Müller. But it is time to find out.

So they let the train set continue running. Out of nowhere manifests a train with locomotive and all. Loud noise from the steam engine and the smell of burn coal fills the room. The train continued through the room and the from vanished into the far side wall. Inside the passenger compartments they could see moving silhouettes, and suddenly they were surrounded by zombie like people dressed in sluggish 1890s clothing. The investigators could also see someone pressing his face towards the compartment window screaming for help and banging the window as if trying to breakthrough. But nothing could be done as Herman was swept inside the main compartment wagon as if magic struck. The remaining three investigators had to make a split second decision whether to jump aboard or let Herman disappear with this train out of this world.

All for one, shouted the hardcore detective Frank Patterson and jumped the carriage. The other two followed instinctively. Aboard they managed to escape the undead that now threatened them and tried to attack them ferociously. “Quick let us move to the other carriage”. The doors opened and a middle aged gentleman offered his support. “Come here, you are safe with me”. The man showed the investigators into his private compartment and what a chock it was. Human remains were spread all over and the gentleman was apparently Mr. Randolph Alexis himself.

To be continuedcoc.jpg

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Dancers in an evening fog - Scenario 1
London, January 3rd, 1923

Colonel Williams and Frank Patterson were clearly running out of patience. Who was this irritating mustache man who so eagerly watched their conversation with Professor Smith? And why did he run away when he was noticed? Time to find out. They were getting ready to bust the door to the antiques shop “The Crescent Treasury” when Frank suddenly put his hand on* Colonel Williams* shoulder. “Wait”. Again his Spot Hidden 99 % came in handy. There in the distance patrolling towards them a “bobby”, a London police constable. One of many that patrol the British capital at night and known for their notorious keen senses and also carrying a whistle pipe for fast back up. “We need to stall this oneFrank whispered.

As the constable approached and noticed the investigators he asked for their names and addresses as he picked up his note pad. The whistle pipe hanging in a string around his wrist. “The Carlton” answered Patterson truthfully well knowing that the luxury hotel would ease the constable notably. “And what might your business be at this late hour out and about in the streets?” he followed up intent on clearing out any suspicions. “Actually we need to render your law enforcing powers, constable. My friend here was pick pocketed at the Challenge Lecture this very night at Kensington Imperial Institute where we were guests of honor to Professor Smith. My friend here, Colonel Williams is visiting from America and it is quite embarrassing as well as very upsetting that this happens to us.” The constable nodded. “Indeed we suspect the criminal to be of Middle Eastern or Turkish descent. Typical Eastern features.” The constable now looked aggravated. We cant have bloody foreigners running the Queen’s streets and harassing people!

Colonel Williams put more force on the poor constable. Surely they should break in directly before the Turkish criminal could run away? The constable hesitated but successful rolls in Credit Rating (89 %) and Persuade (89 %) from the Colonel made the constable agree. Act in haste! The constable kicked in the door and they searched the place. Lots of stuff but no signs of the perpetrator. Back door left open and traces in the snow. He got away. Upstairs they found dressers and wardrobes emptied. Was it a planned escape? They also found a ledger downstairs behind the counter and missing their Accounting rolls (base chance 10 %) I let them first roll for Luck and the note on the toy train happened to fall out of the ledger, followed by an Idea roll – something is deviating here regarding that said train. Lots of transactions but this train is the only toy.

The investigators thanked the constable and returned to their hotel with the ledger in hand.

At the same time Lord Fyrom Squibb and Hermann Müller discussed hauntings with the dear professor at The Oriental Club. The professor had not witnessed any hauntings himself but he was ready to go on expeditions together with his four friends. He looked forward to that. “My dear man servant Beddows would love to follow as well.”Beddows? How long had he served the professor? Was he to be trusted? The investigators checking all angles. “Oh yes indeed soon a decade that he served me most loyal and devoted.” The chit chat ended around midnight and they returned to hotel Carlton.

Gathered all four they now examined the ledger. and traced that toy train from the seller “the estate of Randolph Alexis” by The Crescent Treasury to the buyer Mr. Henry Stanley in Stoke Newington. Succesful rolls in History (Colonel Williams 69 % History and I think Müller has 89 % Occult, but not sure the player will fill this in later) and Occult made it clear that the Alexis family, father and son, were prominent in the occult community in this area. They also remembered that Randolph Alexis had died in a train derailment back in 1897 while traveling to Liverpool from London in the very same train model as the toy set. They also knew that the son vanished in 1917, 20 years later, with no traces just a room full of smoke. Neither body was ever recovered…

The investigators did not want to rest on their laurels. They asked the operator to immediately call Mr. Henry Stanley in Stoke Newington. Ring ring ring (for a long time!). Then suddenly “hello?”. A woman of age answered. The investigators asked for Mr. Stanley. “You better come here” the woman replied.

Stoke Newington was a short cab ride away. Mrs. Atkins greeted them at the door. Kind of nerving that a sign outside sold tickets to “the death room”. I like people who are greedy, Patterson thought to himself. They are easy to manipulate. Mrs. Atkins told the investigators that Mr. Stanley had disappeared couple of days ago after having his dinner here with her. He went to his room overjoyed with his new train model he had just bought. Then suddenly enormous noice from his room followed by his death like screams. What was the noise like? Industrial. Like a machine. An engine of some kind. The investigators asked to see the room and Mrs. Atkins agreed as long as they would not touch anything. By the way, Colonel Williams had traveled a long way and only had dollars with him. Could she help out counting his coins and receiving a generous fee for the service? Of course, she happily took the pouch with coins and left to count them. Mr. Stanley’s room was unwatched in front of them

What happened here? Ceiling clearly damaged from intense smoke and heat. Blisters on the walls and ceilings after heat exhaustion. There were bubbles under the wall paper as if though it had been steamed. Dark, sooty streaks that go from North-West to South-East. (here one player, Mats Georgson, noticed that the line of the streaks equaled the Liverpool-London express route. Well done Mats!) Everything in the room was coated by a thin layer of black soot. On the floral carpet there were parallel smudges that ran the same way as the streaks in the ceiling. Again North-West to South-East. Managing an Education roll they noticed that the streaks were exactly the same width as train tracks. What a coincidence.

We ended the session in Mr. Henry Stanley’s room and the players have lots of leads to follow up on. Next session is scheduled for Tuesday 13th October and I will be beck with more postings then. In the meantime please ask us questions or add any comments. I think the players will add their versions during the week as well. Thanks for your reading and dont forget to lock the doors. Remember they are watching us…

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