Horror on the Orient Express - Total Recap!

The Sorcerer

Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 6

Active investigators this session:

Boris Vasilji
Ian Flannigan
Professor Scott
Colonel Williams

Mironim-Mer laid unconscious on the floor. Boris slapped him in the face and Ian poured cold water on him. Henry and the investigators parleyed what to do with him. They used the Dreaming skill to produce manacles and cuff Mironim-Mer for security concerns. They decided to lock him up in his compartment on the train. But how should he be punished?

The players rolled for Idea and and came up with three different alternatives:

1) Execute him here on the train.
2) Let the cats in Ulthar have him and punish him.
3) Let King Kuranes make the ruling on his penalty.

The investigators voted. Boris and Ian voted for option 2 the cats of Ulthar. Colonel Williams opted for the 3rd alternative, King Kuranes. Professor Scott yielded his vote but supported the majority decision. The cats in Ulthar would decide on Mironim-Mer’s fate.

Colonel Williams stressed the point that Mironim-Mer was not responsible for his actions since he was either under the influence of someone, or quite mad.

Experience was due and since this scenario is long it is divided in separate sections for experience according to the authors. And we play RAW. As written.

The players received the max amount of +1d6 Sanity Points with an additional +1d2 San points to Boris who helped save the Madman (Psychoanalysis and conveying Henry to let him onboard the Dreamlands Express). Well done! We also rolled experience checks for skills. Investigators will soon be updated and published here on Obsidian Portal for your reference.

The Dreamlands Express arrived in the small harbor town of Aphorat at 7 pm and soon they would be served the Second Banquet. Aphorat was a beautiful small town with limestone ruins framing the outskirts and a bluish light marveling upon it’s high walls from the sea. No one was embarking or disembarking but Henry loaded off the colorful flowers that he had picked up at Zar and imported lovely pottery in turn.

All but Colonel Williams had smokings ready and the Colonel kindly asked for their help using the Dreaming skill to produce his outfit. “Befitting for the occasion I would prefer a blood red fez as accessory to my smoking.” The investigators focused and Colonel Williams looked quite exotic with his Turkish fez on.

The Second Banquet was on and Henry did impress yet again.

2nd_Banquet_Menu.png

The guests would be served soup, poultry, fish, camel and dromedary, rounding off with fruits and nuts. The wines were as always delicious especially the exquisite Sarrubian wine which left a weird sensation considering who had delivered them to this train and feast… (Guess who?)

The guests were:

The investigators: Boris, Ian, Colonel Williams, Professor Scott.

The Saarnathians: (males) Theophed (the leader), Amor, Caromel, (and females) Besweet, Ibex, Dulce.

Miss Zsusza the artist

Karakov the arms dealer

MacKenzie the courier

Madame Bruja

The guests were split up into two groups. The Saarnathians kept their distance and talking to themselves. Politely nodding when glances met. Miss Zsusza was entertained by Karaoke and MacKenzie, and later Madame Bruja who as always arrived late. The investigators used skills to get a grasp of the situation. They used Listen to listen in any topics of interest, especially looking for words like “Black Jack” or anything connected to the murder. Nothing happened. They also rolled for Psychology, Spot Hidden and Credit Rating (Colonel Williams on Madame Bruja). There was somewhat of a slow night with everyone a bit careful considering the circumstances.

Colonel Williams made a critical success on his Credit Rating roll with Madame Bruja and the ice cold lady opened up somewhat. She was happy to make conversation especially with Miss Zsusza who reminded her of her daughter that “was gone”. The investigators were not sure if “gone” meant diseased or just missing. They waited for an opportunity to ask.

Henry shortly interrupted the banquet to informed that the killer of Black Jack had been contained and he thanked the investigators for their assistance. Applause were due though somewhat passive.

After dinner small groups were spontaneously engaged in deep conversations encouraged by the delicious wines that continue to be served. Boris was approached by the Saarnathians leader Theophed who wanted the investigators support in brokering a deal with the Beings of Ib. “Their demands are ridiculously lavish” he complained. “We only defended our country against their invasion” he summarized their moral stance. Boris offered to help and negotiations followed.

The_Doomed_Cities_of_Saarnath_and_Ib.png

To be successful in the negotiations, the investigators had to succeed with either Law or Persuade for each of the three major points:

1) 10.000 rubins and saphires in war damage compensation
2) An official apology from the King of Saarnathia
3) Return of the statue of the lizard god Bokrog

Professor Scott was drunk and fumbled his Persuade roll. Theophed was angered by his clumsy remarks and they would now need 2 successful rolls to succeed with point 2! Boris failed his first roll for Persuade but raised the stakes and pushed his roll. He did it! With no investigator having more than 5 % Law they were acting with a knife against their throats. Colonel Williams saved the day when he rolled a perfect "01"and made his Law check. The players (and Game Keeper) cheered. A treaty had been brokered! The Saarnathians would accept the suggested path.

However, it angered the investigators that as they were brokering a peace, Karakov was in the midst selling weapons to the other members of the Saarnathian enclave. Boris complained to Theophed who guaranteed the treaty would be respected but also at the same time making clear that Saarnathia was a sovereign country that had a lawful right to defend themselves against aggression. Boris ended the parley with warnings regarding Karakov. “A man that cannot be trusted.”

The Dreamlands Express was about to enter the city of Thalarion and the wide plains were populated by wild horses chased by purple wolves. Birds with human hands were flying high in the sky. Thalarion was another port city and Henry was since in his voice when he warned any passenger to disembark at Thalarion. “We only stop there to save any lost dreamers.” Boris wanted explained why. Henry pulled him close. “Because therein walk only demons and mad things that are no longer men, and the streets are white with the unburried bones of those that have looked upon the eidolon Lahti, that reigns over the city.”

Madame Bruja had left the banquet early but returned to the banquet wagon as the train pulled into Thalarion. Someone, or rather somewhat, was waiting alone at the station. The investigators looked carefully as Henry went to great the passenger. But instead of greeting it seemed like Henry tried to keep this creature out of the train. Boris had followed Henry to cover his back. He could see that the creature was a human coprse, charcoal black as if burnt with bones open to see here and there. In the empty eye sockets were red glowing light. Henry seemed to passively give in, his arms falling lame along his side and he froze as if momentarily catatonic. Boris did not approve of the development as the black corpse moved toward the ladder and started climbing up towards the banquet wagon. Inside the wagon Ian never hesitated. “I run to my compartment for my crossbow.” Madame Bruja froze to ice and shouted “It is him! he has come for me!” She started running away towards her compartment further ahead in the train. Boris tried to block the path but was challenged by some kind of mental attack. We rolled for opposed POW and Boris made it! But he chose to step aside so the creature could pass him into the banquet wagon. Carefully he drew his sword from the cane. A stab in the back would taste good. As the corpse moved into the banquet wagon panic started to spread. Madame Bruja was running full speed with Colonel Williams following her tail. The corpse followed suit. Would they make it?

We rolled for chase (names in order of position heading for carriage 5 (sleep wagon #1) from carriage 8 (banquet wagon):

Ian (failed roll)
Madame Bruja (succeeded roll)
Colonel Williams (hard success roll)
Black Corpse (failed roll)
Professor Scott (fumbled, fell on floor -1 round)
Boris (failed)

Madame Bruja and Colonel Williams caught Ian and distanced themselves from the corpse. Ian decided to stay in the Men’s Saloon (carriage 7) and make a stance. Perhaps he could give Colonel Williams and Madame Bruja some much needed time to escape. Colonel Williams and Ian tore down tables and chairs to block the corpse from advancing without delay from the Men’s saloon.

The corpse entered the Men’s saloon. On the other side of the rubble as Ian now with a broken chair leg winded with some cloth on fire. Ian wavered it in front of the coprse trying to scare him off with the burning flames. Boris came up from behind. we checked for initiative:

1) Ian
2) Boris
3) The Corpse

Ian used his round to lit the chair leg. Boris thrusted his piercing sword in the back of the corpse trying to hit the kidneys. If there were any kidneys… He rolled a crit! and it was also an impale for 2d8+2+1d4 damage, maximizing the first die (13) for a total of 22 damage! The corpse was still standing though. It seemed that the damage was minimal despite the fantastic hit. The corpse turned toward Boris and uttered a few short sentences in a language not known to man. A sudden pain hit Boris inside his head. He rolled for opposed POW a second time and again beat this fearsome creature. Suddenly the creature was gone.

Who,,,,, what was that thing??” screamed Ian still holding his burning stick. “That my dear friend was the Sorcerer” replied Boris calmly. “He has come to fetch what is his and he will not give up until he has taken it.”

Colonel Williams and Madame Bruja had reached her compartment in carriage nr 5, just next to the investigators compartment. “Madame Bruja, you must tell us what is going on. Please!”

we rolled for Persuade and Colonel Williams (89 %) made a hard success. “Alright, come with me inside my compartment. I shall tell you my story” she said.

To be continued…

Comments

6 sessions now and we still have some way to go. Experience was handed out even though the scenario is not completed which is a special rule by the module. I appreciate it. The players maxed the SAN-points here and are on a high. I somewhat surprised they do not use their skills more. I thought there were too little skill checks again. Perhaps the roleplaying part takes over this campaign with all the social interaction and the vast number of NPCs.

Next session is due on Tuesday again and its great to have this tight schedule. I aim to have completed scenario 5 well ahead of the summer holidays.

The Sorcerer
 

Wow of the session was doubtless Colonel Williams getting “01” on his roll for Law at 5 %. Saved the peace negotiations between the Saarnathians and the Beings of Ib. Especially after drunk Professor Scott almost ruining the day (fumbled Persuade roll!).

The Sorcerer
Caligula_1

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