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TOPIC: Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations

Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 2 weeks ago #6051

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i'll probably be late tonight as my daughter has a school awards evening. don't wait for me!
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 2 weeks ago #6053

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Monday 28th Jan. ctd…

Evening: Back at the hotel we discover that Hubert, plagued by chest pains had been driven to desperation. Whilst the rest of us were out, Hubert sought to relieve his malady by attempting to destroy the pieces of the simulacrum – to no avail. After dark, we decide to pay a visit to Antonio Termoni at his address. On stepping outside the hotel, Ludwig is blown over by the Bora, bruising his ribs and losing his precious hat in the process. All agreed, maybe we should stop in tonight. We’ll venture out again tomorrow.

Tuesday 29th January 1923

Breakfast: Bad dreams disturbed Letty, Pierre and Ludwig. The same nightmare again but the effect on the dreamer seems to be worsening* While we ate breakfast, a fez-wearing man peered in at us through a window. A different fez-wearing man than the one we had seen in the hotel previously. What was notable is that despite the Bora winds blowing strongly, the man didn’t hold on to his fez – it was like it was stuck to his head. This was reminiscent of the accounts of the blood red fez in Smith’s 1893 journal.

*Cumulative loss of magic points with each night.

A New Hat: We take taxis to the address for Antonio Termoni. On the way Ludwig insisted on stopping to buy a new hat. He has to order a top hat to be made in his size, for now he impulsively purchases a fez to wear for the day. His new top hat will be delivered to the hotel tomorrow.

Termoni’s House: Termoni lives in a well-to-do street not far from the museum. When we rap on his door, a villainous-looking man with an eye patch opens it. We ask to see Termoni and present our cards. The man asks us to wait in the hall. The hall has portraits and interesting objets d’art. Items include a figurine of a primitive human with strange proportions, and a vase with a thick glaze which obscures the detail of the dancing figures painted on it – but they seem to have odd limbs.

Signor Termoni: Termoni’s one-eyed man-servant, we learn his name is Marco, shows us through to the sitting room. We are greeted by a one-armed man, Antonio Termoni. The left sleeve of his shirt is sewn up. We introduce ourselves as historians. Our visit concerns an interest in eighteenth and nineteenth century Trieste. We tell Termoni that we believe him to be a historian and collector who may have in his possession certain items that may assist us in our studies. Termoni is happy to engage with us, we discuss the medallions his father left to the museum and the Winckelmann journal we hope he still possesses. In regards to the medallions he admits to knowing little. There were only ever seven to his knowledge. As for the journal – he asks Marco to fetch it for us.

The Winkelmann Papers: There is a journal and some loose papers. The papers are in connection with archaeological excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The journal is written in an ancient Greek dialect. Termoni has never troubled to have it translated. When we ask about the prospect of doing so, he informs us he knows of an excellent linguist in Trieste, named Marcius Montanelli, who would be capable. He even telephones the man to provide an introduction for us. Termoni entrusts the journal to our care. Once we have a transcript we shall ensure it’s returned to him.

The Vase and the Sleeve: Before taking our leave, Hubert enquires about the vase in the hall. Realising Termoni is not precious about it, Hubert barters for its purchase. A price is agreed and upon payment the vase will be delivered to our hotel. While this is happening, Letty is suddenly keen to exit the room. Once outside in the taxi, Letty tells us she saw a sort of inhuman movement beneath Termoni’s left sleeve. It made her feel quite queasy.

Signor Montanelli: The housekeeper admits us to Montanelli’s house and ushers us in to meet the man in his dim and cluttered study. Marcius Montanelli is in a wheelchair. A blanket rests upon his lap. He appears to have no legs. After introductory conversation, we present the journal to him. There’s quite a few pages and we expect it could take a number of days, if not weeks perhaps, to translate it all. To our surprise, Montanelli states it should take him maybe a day and a half. We’re taken aback, but this is good news indeed. The man and his convictions seem entirely genuine. We agree a fee and will return to collect the journal and a transcript on Thursday afternoon. At this point Letty rushes out of the house – Ludwig, anxious about her welfare, follows.

Letty’ Afternoon: Outside in the street, Letty suffers a psychotic episode, she panics and becomes sightless. She’s witnessed it again! Inhuman movement; this time beneath Montanelli’s blanket where his legs should be. First the vampire in Venice, then the inhuman stirrings of Termoni and now Montanelli. Why does she see what no-one else sees? Ludwig calms her. We’ll return to the hotel. Perhaps Ludwig will have a sedative he can administer to help her rest until her eyesight returns.

Hubert’s Afternoon: Hubert returns to Termoni’s house with an envelope full of cash to pay for the vase. One-eyed Marco takes the offered envelope and slams the door in Hubert’s face. Afterwards, he joins Ludwig at the Town Hall in an attempt to establish whether the Lizard’s Cave Tavern, as mentioned in the 1797 article, still exists or if something new exists on the site. Their lack of Italian hampers them and not even speaking English slowly and loudly helps with communication. They waste their afternoon and leave none-the-wiser.

Pierre’s Afternoon: Pierre ventures to the library to research Winckelmann’s murderer, Francesco Arcangeli, but learns nothing new. He researches the Locanda Grande, the hotel outside which Winckelmann was reputedly murdered and Arcangeli executed. It’s the hotel at which the unnamed waiter worked to whom Winckelmann inexplicably left his goods. Originally opened as the Hospitium Magnum, the hotel changed its name first to the Osteria Grande and then the Locanda Grande. The hotel was demolished in 1847 and a new hotel, the Hotel Garni, built on its site. The hotel changed name again in 1873 to its current name – the Hotel Vanoli. The hotel occupies a site on the city’s main square – the Piazza Unità d’Italia.

Wednesday 30th January 1923
Thankfully there were no bad dreams for any of us during the night. We receive delivery of a new top-hat and a vase. We learn nothing from closer study of the vase and lock it in the safe room with our luggage. We briefly spy another man wearing a fez. This is the third different fez-wearing man we’ve spotted around the hotel since our arrival.


"Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun" - Capt. E. Blackadder.
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Garuda.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 2 weeks ago #6054

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Hi all
really enjoying this. Unfortunately wont be about next week as we have a funeral and wake.

see you all the week after
Red Wine should always be opened and allowed to breathe....

if it doesn't apply mouth to bottle resuscitation.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 1 week ago #6056

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Thursday 31st January 1923

Breakfast: No bad dreams overnight. During breakfast we spy a man loitering outside the window. He is tall and slim and has a shock of red hair with a single lock of black hair. Rather than menacing, he looks anxious. When we spot him, he quickly disappears from view. Hubert rushes outside, and is immediately bowled over by the Bora winds. He doesn’t see the red-haired man, but does notice two fez-wearing men. They too soon disappear from view.

Hotel Vanoli: We take coffee and cake at the Hotel Vanoli in the Piazza Unità d’Italia. The hotel and its predecessors on the site have a rich history in Trieste. Winckelmann stayed at the Locanda previously built on this site, and was almost certainly murdered here too. On the way, we are realise we’re being followed by a fez-wearing Turk. Hubert stops as if prepared to confront him, but the Turk slips out of view. At the Vanoli, Pierre, oozing Parisian charm, smooth-talks the hotel manager into a guided tour of the establishment. The tour, including access to the basement areas, yields no results of interest.

Kidnapping: As we exit the Vanoli, we notice once more the tall man with the red hair and black streak. He is across the other side of the square. He looks to us and seems anxious. We start towards him but then a disturbing act unfolds. We watch as two fez-wearing Turks accost the red-haired man and drag him out of sight into an alleyway. We rush over but too late to give chase. There’s a small pool of blood but no trail leading away. We conclude that the red-haired man had probably been coshed in order to subdue him, resulting in a small head bleed.

Montanelli: It’s after midday and we decide to take taxis to pick up the Winckelmann journal and transcript. Montanelli hands over a twenty page transcript. Obviously it’s far short of the complete transcription we’d hoped for. Montanelli informs us he’d glossed over the more banal of Winckelmann’s recordings and concentrated on the more important passages as he saw it. Thanking him, we settle the account as agreed and depart with the journal and transcript. Once outside, Ludwig confesses that he witnessed inhuman movement beneath Montanelli’s lap blanket. We are glad to leave.

The Transcript: Back at our hotel we pour over the pages of the transcript. There are journal entries dated throughout May and June 1768. In which Winckelmann alludes to: a tablet - a journey to Regensburg to visit ‘Things’ - being compelled to take an amulet to an enclave near Tergeste (an antiquated form of Trieste) - must wear the amulet so as not to be destroyed entering the enclave – a dark plan – a prisoner of the frozen Arctic – dreams – meeting Arcangeli, a guide who knows certain words and signs – a ritual – cannot trust Arcangeli - hide the amulet, Arcangeli wants it – Arcangeli and other locals serve beasts – they steal occult items to make as offerings to the beasts – Winkelmann must deliver amulet to caverns at Adelsberg.

Caverns: Noting the reference to caverns at Adelsberg, we make use of a travel guide to locate cave systems near to Trieste. Two significant entries detail the caverns at the Grotte di Postumia (Postumia Caverns), located 50 miles east. We will pass by Postumia when we take the Orient Express on the next leg of our journey. Closer to Trieste is the Grotta Gigante cavern.

A New friend: Room Service knocks at our door. There is a man in reception wishing to see us. He had handed the receptionist a note with our names on it. We make our way downstairs with interest. Our visitor is a familiar face. It is the man from the library for whom staff, and afterwards Ludwig, turned pages of the book he was reading. The man had no use of his arms and never spoke when Ludwig first attempted to engage him.

In the hotel foyer the man makes use of muted noises and gestures, rather than speech, to indicate he wants us to follow him. He exits the hotel. We’re all too aware of the possibility this could be a trap, never-the-less, we fall in behind him. The strange man leads us through streets to a poor part of Trieste and eventually enters a run-down building within which a number of destitute men and women reside. Reaching a room with a desk, our friend removes his coat. He has no hands, and as suspected we realise he has no tongue either with which to speak. The removal of these body parts has left burned and melted scars. As if this wasn’t enough to mark him as unfortunate, the man was also clearly deranged.

Grossinger: On his desk is a jumble of papers. We soon conclude the man is a sleuth of sorts. He gestured his approval for us to peruse his papers. The papers are written in German. From various scribbling we learn our friend’s name is Helmut Grossinger. His recordings include references to – Roman Tergeste - Von Juntz – a cult from older times – cavern dwellers – karst cavern – De Vermiis Mysteriis – human fish – Ghatanothoa – wind walker, Itha… - punishments, fingers, toes, eyes, limbs – grafted on to the body, may move of its own volition or at the will of….

When questioned about the loss of his hands and tongue, Helmut confirms he was punished. With use of a map we discern that those who punished him are at located at the Postumia Caves.

More to follow, later this weekend...
"Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun" - Capt. E. Blackadder.
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Garuda.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 1 week ago #6062

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Thursday 31st January 1923 ctd…

Evening: The Bora causes a power outage across the city; plunging Trieste into darkness. The Savoia Excelsior staff busy themselves with illuminating the hotel entirely by candlelight. The lack of electricity is no impediment to the serving of our evening repast. While we wait at our table, Cartwright suggests, with only twenty pages of transcript, we should perhaps send the Winckelmann journal to the British Museum with a letter to request a thorough and complete translation.

Starters: The waiting staff fetch us soup for our starter. As we begin to dine we each experience a sinking feeling. We quickly realise it’s not us shrinking but our table rising. The table lifts clear from the floor and then drops, spilling our soup, and scattering our drinking glasses, candles and utensils. Nobody but us witnesses this startling phenomenon. Waiters, realising the state of our table, busy themselves with cleaning and clearing.

Cartwright: Once mains have been served, Cartwright takes a mouthful of roast chicken. Then his eyes widen to see that where he has carved the meat, his plate is now writhing with maggots. Worse, his mouth is full of the wriggling things. He hastily spits into his napkin, only to realise there’s nothing but chicken. The meal on the plate before him once again looks quite delicious.

Red, Red Wine: The waiter pours a red Chianti. Letty raises her glass and drinks. As she replaces the glass on the table it inexplicably refills itself, but the wine is thicker and the red more vibrant – it looks more like blood. It continues to fill until it overflows and the blood-wine spreads across the table cloth, forming a distinct image of a man’s face, upon whose head is a crown of leaves and berries. Those of us with a classical education recognise the form as the Greek god Dionysus, or his Roman counterpart, Bacchus. The overflowing glass then levitates above the table before shattering. The form on the table is no longer visible; there is only a large red wine stain. For a second time, waiting staff are summoned to clear and relay our table. They do so with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss.

Pierre: Determined to continue his meal, Pierre tucks in. But suddenly, his knife becomes cold – so cold that it burns the skin to hold it; and yet, he is unable to let go. Instead the knife rises, drawing Pierre out of his seat. He makes involuntary stabbing motions in the air and his hand is now covered in blood, running down his wrist and arm. As suddenly as his ordeal started, it ends. The knife drops. It clatters to the table. Pierre examines his hand – perfectly clean and of normal pallor.

The Pale Man: We are drawing too much attention to ourselves in the restaurant. A pale-skinned man, dressed all in black stares hard at us. He rises from his seat and turning away, slips into the kitchen. We follow him, but are confronted by an angry chef, bawling at us in Italian, evidently unappreciative of guests entering the sanctity of his work space. There is no sign of the pallid man.

The Stairs: We collect candles from reception and ascend the grand stairway to our rooms. Our breath frosts in the air as the temperature rapidly plummets. Hubert, on the dark stairway landing, is violently thrust against the wall by an unseen assailant. A harsh voice from the ether utters the word ‘tagebuch’. ‘Diary’, Ludwig translates. And then the ghostly presence is no longer there.

Séance: We decide to hold a séance in Cartwright and Pierre’s room. We make use of a glass tumbler and create a makeshift ouija board from letters and numbers drawn on paper. The room is lit by a single candle. We call out to ask if there is any spirit present. The answer is yes. Are you Winkelmann? Yes. And then the glass tumbler, with our fingers pressed lightly to it, begins to move from letter to letter spelling out M-A-R-C-O-P-O-L-O. After this the glass shatters. We ask at reception – does Marco Polo have any association with Trieste, or are there any landmarks or businesses that bear his name? We are informed that there is the Via Marco Polo in the city.

A Night to Remember: We retire to our beds shortly before midnight. In our rooms, the candles blow out. The door to Cartwright and Pierre’s room opens by itself and a chill breeze blows in. The fire in the hearth is extinguished. The room glows colder and sheets are pulled from their beds. A pillow explodes in a cloud of feathers. A chair shifts of its own volition across the room and despite the continuing power outage, the electric bulbs begin to flicker.

In Ludwig and Hubert’s room an eerie pale light replaces the glow of the fire in the hearth. The temperature plummets. The sudden cold is enough to take your breath away. Frost expands across the glass pane of the window and the tracery of an image forms. It is the classical form of the god Bacchus surrounded by frolicking maenads and satyrs. The flames of the hearth ignite again, chasing away the strange pale light and the frosted image on the window melts away. Despite the temperature lifting, Ludwig and Hubert are left shivering with the cold.

A loud thud is heard from outside in the corridor. When Ludwig and Hubert investigate, they find Cartwright, Pierre and Letty lying in a heap on the carpeted floor. Each has been unceremoniously lifted up and forcibly expelled from their rooms. And now the electric lights come to life. The city power has been restored. Trying to get any sleep this night is not going to be easy for any of us.

"Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun" - Capt. E. Blackadder.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 1 month 6 days ago #6063

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2 great posts Paul gets you an automatic skill increase of your choice
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Temrane - Thu 11 Aug - 11:09

round robin dnd should be happening tonight :)

Sarge - Thu 11 Aug - 10:35

What games are on tonight? Adam isn’t running his game and the round robin 5e table didn’t happen last week. Numbers may be a bit slim therefore. I’m running a one shot Cthulhu.

Sarge - Sun 7 Aug - 16:44

Sorry, that should be 11th Aug is final week

Sarge - Sun 7 Aug - 16:43

As a reminder, the next rotation starts on 18th Aug, so this Thursday (8th Aug) is the last week of the current rotation

rhodsey - Sun 7 Aug - 15:25

Might have a spare slot for Coriolis next rotation if anyone interested. See the game proposal thread for more and see the Games discussion thread for background info.

rhodsey - Thu 28 Jul - 12:06

Actually kicks off tonight. Opening ceremony.

mikeawmids - Thu 28 Jul - 11:26

Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 04/08/22 (next Thurdsay), there may be road closures on your route to the club.

mikeawmids - Tue 19 Jul - 09:14

Heads up, DriveThruRPG have kicked off their Christmas in July sale, BIG discounts on THOUSANDS of items!!!

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