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TOPIC: Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations

Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 2 years 3 months ago #4697

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Following their investigation of the Dukes residence, the Investigators return to their hotel to freshen up for the evenings event, the meeting of the 7:30 club; the planned meal, discussion, and examination of the scroll at Le Chat Noir at 8pm. Ludwig, feeling a little under the weather, decides to stay at the hotel and keep an eye on the left arm of the Simulacrum.

Edgar Wellington and the Duke are a no show, but the third member of the club, a one Maximillian von Wurtheim does turn up. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and six feet tall, Max’s Prussian lineage is quite apparent

The meal at the cafe is excellent, unassuming, and cheap. Max is a conversationalist who does not know the meaning of the words ‘draw breath,’ he entertains the investigators by relating his life story and enquiring of their ‘Occult’ experiences. Hebert asks if he has knowledge of the Sedefkar Simulacrum to which he frowns and says he does not.

It gets to 11pm and Max bids his farewell, taps his pockets and apologises for not bringing his wallet and thanks them for the meal.

The investigators decide to head over to the Wellington residence. It is overcast. As they travel there, a cold rain begins to fall. When they arrive at the shop, the street is very dark. A gas light on the corner sheds a fitful light. The front door of the shop is slightly ajar. They immediately suspect something is wrong.

After some deliberations they enter the shop. Any chance of stealth is soon lost as Naomi snags her clothing on the claws of the stuffed bear, and well, screams like a girl. The light switch is found, the front door closed, and further investigation of the property commences. Nothing untoward is ultimately discovered downstairs. There is an all-pervading smell of formaldehyde, decaying flesh and damp fur. On the table in the workroom is a disembowelled carcass of a small Deer, blood still dripping onto the table and floor.

The investigators proceed upstairs, it is soon apparent that everything is in chaos. Banks flips the light on in the Kitchen/Dining room and they are greeted with a gruesome scene. William lies dead on the floor, in a pool of blood, by stab wounds to the belly and back, a bloody knife dropped beside him. His shirt has been ripped open, and a large flap of skin has been cut from his back. The expression on his face is one of utmost horror. This is too much for Naomi who faints, and Pierre who develops a manic fear of darkness.

Moving onto Edgars bedroom reveals more dismay. Edgar’s body lies cold and dead upon his bed. An examination of the corpse uncovers two fresh needle marks, one among many in the left arm which Edgar (being right-handed) probably made, and a single one in the right arm, difficult for Edgar. Murder would be a logical conclusion.

Ferreting around reveals the following obvious clues:

  • Edgar’s diary, open on the floor.
  • A receipt left on Edgar’s writing desk.
  • A green bottle, mostly full, on which is a label, ‘Dream Lausanne.’
  • An empty morphine bottle and on the floor an emptied syringe.
  • A scroll, hidden beneath his bed.
A search of the remaining rooms reveals nothing further, and it is now the early hours of the morning. It is decided to leave the property, taking all of interest back to the hotel to examine further.

  • The Receipt bears today’s date and is from a local stationer. It is for sealing wax and fine parchment
  • The Scroll is elaborately tied and sealed with fresh red wax. It is determined at once that the scroll is a fake, and that the only reason it looks old is because Edgar must have baked it in an oven for a while.
  • The green bottle is about the size of an ink bottle. The contents look remarkably like muddy water. Holding it up to a strong light, it is observed that there are tiny silvery particles suspended in the dank fluid. It has a narcotic of unknown effect.
  • Much of the diary chronicles the pain that Edgar felt in his everyday life, but it also fills in missing pieces concerning what occurred last evening. It takes about an hour to read. Most entries are short. The diary shows that the Duke interested Edgar in the occult, and provided him with the dream drug, initially saying only that it would combat insomnia. Edgar relates how he visited Lausanne in his dreams, a different Lausanne, and how anything he clutched in his hands as he slept would go into the dream with him. He hid the scroll for safe keeping in Dream Lausanne.
It is resolved that Edgar Wellington took the dream drug to recover the scroll and was murdered while under the effect of the drug. The logical conclusion is that his waking-world spirit is still adrift in Dream Lausanne and might be found there. Knowing that they need the Scroll, the next obvious step is to enter Dream Lausanne and try and locate Edgar and the Scroll.

Given that the Orient Express will be back in Lausanne in only a few hours’ time, and that there might be some questions to answer over the deaths of the Wellingtons, it is decided that it is not worth risking taking the Dream drug now, but wait till they are safely back on the train. The Express arrives promptly at 6.45am, the investigators embark and go directly to Pierre’s cabin.

Pierre goes first, drinking a capful, and exclaims “c'était vraiment dégoûtant!” before immediately collapsing into a deep sleep, cracking his head on the bedside table on the way down.

The others, after sitting in a safer position, one by one take the Dream drug and fall into a deep slumber.

The dreamers wake in the same compartment in the same positions as when they took the drug. They wear the clothes they had on when they took the drug and hold whatever they had in their hands, albeit the pre 1400 Common Era equivalent.

The compartment looks the same except the light is off, and the blind drawn. Harsh white light shines from around the edges of the blind. No amount of pushing or shoving raises the blind.

The train is moving slowly. The investigators leave the compartment and see that the blinds are closed all along the corridor, as are the blinds in the other cabins. Down the corridor they can see that all the other cabin doors are open, except one. The closed door has been nailed shut, and the smell of decay comes from behind it. Banks suggests leaving well alone. No amount of force budges this door, but Hubert and Pierre attempt anyway, Pierre injuring himself in the process on one of the nails.

The train halts. The door at the end of the carriage opens, and brilliant bright light streams in.

Stepping out of the train, the investigators find themselves in a wasteland. The harsh light fills the sky and comes from no identifiable source. All around them extends a limitless plane the colour of ash. The air smells bitter and metallic, and the only sound is their own breathing. Free standing, about thirty yards from the train, is a door. The door seems strangely familiar, but the investigators cannot place it. As they walk towards it, dust rises from their steps and it makes them sneeze painfully. The door is open.

Astonishingly, the door opens into the back room of the Wellingtons’ taxidermy shop. The shop is reassuringly familiar, yet it is not the same shop they left hours ago. Here everything is more primitive. In place of electric lights, for instance, torches burn on the walls.

  • The workroom has the same gutted deer on the table. Lacking ice or refrigeration, the carcass is a reeking mess.
  • The front door stands open, with evidence that it has been forced recently. Outside, a bell begins to toll. The investigators hear crowds of people moving in the street.
  • The front room is still a show room, but the animals have been so crudely preserved that many of them are decaying.
  • The door to the rooms in the upper level cannot be opened by any means. Banks breaks one of his lockpicks attempting to get into Edgars room
  • The study is in disarray. The writing implements are vellum and quills, but are scattered across the room. The chair is overturned, and it is obvious a struggle took place here.
  • The store room stinks of rotting meat. The badly stuffed bear is a festering horror.
Out in the street everything seems familiar yet undeniably different. Dream Lausanne is like a Gothic nightmare of the real thing. People wear medieval costume and they are streaming up hill towards the cathedral, in the direction of the bell.

The sky has a rich purple tint, like a permanent dusk. Street intersections are occasionally adorned by gibbets, many of them occupied.

Several events unfold as the investigators follow the procession up the hill:

  • Event 1: A gaping fissure splits the middle of an empty street. From the fissure an icy wind blasts outward, moaning down the street. Players cannot go up the street as the wind is so strong.
  • Event 2: A group of grotesquely clothed people passes, masked and cowled, costumed as Death, an Angel, a medieval Soldier, a Lion, a Turk, an Assassin, and a Rustic looking man and woman. They are flagellants who wind in procession through the chaos, weeping tears of blood from startling, expressionless, china-blue dolls’ eyes. They chant in Latin as they move, and the reek of incense and a distant cacophony of bells follows them. As the bells reach a crescendo, the Lion figure sprouts wings and flies away, closely pursued by the Soldier. Their bloody tears fall on the investigators from above and scald them. Pierre advises here that a winged lion is the symbol of Venice, a city which surrendered to a soldier, Napoleon, in 1797.
  • Event 3: One street is strewn with flowers and bulbs which give off clear, sweet smells. No shadows exist in this street
  • Event 4: An old woman stirs a huge black cauldron and offers the investigators dinner. They all decline but peer into the cauldron, finding it full of skinned, writhing human limbs, slightly steaming
  • Event 5: A street magician displays an empty top hat. He inserts first his right arm, then his left, then his right leg and finally his left leg into the hat. Each time he does this his limb is taken by the hat and vanishes. Finally, collapsing to the ground, laughing hysterically, the magician asks for someone from the audience to retrieve his limbs from the hat. Hubert obliges, but finds nothing is inside.
  • Event 6: At a strangely quiet intersection, the investigators witness a disturbing scene. A gigantic chessboard has been set into the cobblestones, and at either side of the board stands a motionless statue, one black, one white the players. They are humanoid, yet featureless, and androgynous. On the board people occupy the positions of chess pieces. Each person carries a knife. These ‘pieces’ begin to move as if a normal chess game was taking place. As one piece takes another, the victor viciously cuts the throat of the loser. Play speeds to inhuman quickness; soon the board is littered with corpses, the black player triumphing over the white. After the final move which grants the black player victory, the white player cracks noisily and falls to pieces, and the black player statue gratingly turns its head to regard the investigators.
  • Event 7: In the middle of a deserted square, another statue stands. It is large and made of wire with what appears to be rags hanging from it. As the investigators get closer they notice that the wire has been crazily woven into a human shape, and that the rags are scraps of flesh snagged on cruel barbs and hooks. This alas is too much for poor Hubert, who starts repeatedly screaming "teeth, he's got teeth!!!". From the head of the statue emerges the sweetest sound the investigators have ever heard. It is like an angel singing, a voice of perfect clarity. This thankfully, after a short while, calms Hubert down. The sound brings tears to the eyes of the listeners, and they flee weeping from the square before their hearts can break.
The human stream follows the tolling bell to the town centre, eventually filling the Place de la Palud. In the centre is a large platform upon which stand three figures: a bronze statue (it is the statue from the cathedral, of Otho of Grandson); a hooded, robed figure; and Edgar Wellington, his hands bound in chains. The hooded figure raises its arms and the crowd falls silent. The figure then speaks, a male voice, horribly familiar.

“Before us stands a man accused of grievous crimes. His criminal conduct in withholding what is due to us renders him our enemy, and hence he must stand trial before us.” At this point the figure casts back his hood and stands revealed as the Duke.

“As Prince and protector of this realm, I appoint myself the judicial representative of the people of Lausanne,” he giggles, “and will see that this rogue gets his just deserts.” At this point the crowd goes wild, cheering the Prince and cursing Wellington. “Is anyone willing to take the part of the criminal in these proceedings?” There is a deathly silence throughout the square.

The investigators at this point volunteer themselves (begrudgingly) for the Defence of Edgar.

The Prince raises his eyebrows, and nods to the investigators, apparently unconcerned, but it is clear that the Prince is furious to be so impeded.

He turns to the crowd and asks, “Is there one among you who wishes to offer himself to justice?” The front ranks of the crowd go berserk as they vie for the Prince’s attention. He gestures his choice, and the crowd falls upon the chosen, beating him to death. There are hideous noises beneath the surging mass of people but eventually one person comes forward with the bloody skin of the volunteer.

The Prince accepts the skin with a smile and drapes it over the statue, muttering words beneath his breath. Suddenly the skin seems to merge with the bronze statue, and it begins to breathe. Its eyes open and gaze ahead glassily.

The Prince says to it, “You are the overseer. Determine the guilt or innocence of the accused at the conclusion of proceedings”

So far, Wellington has not said a word. He stares at the floor, trembling. The Prince magnanimously allows the investigators to talk to the criminal before the trial begins…
Last Edit: 2 years 3 months ago by Sarge.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 2 years 3 months ago #4725

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DREAM LAUSANNE

The 7.30 Club: The Duc and Wellington are a no-show at 7.30 Club. A boring Prussian named Maximillian von Wurtheim entertains us instead (could he be delaying us?). We go to Wellington’s place. William is dead and Edgar unconscious. Edgar has syringe marks up his arm. Has been taking a drug named Dream Lausanne that allows him to enter a dreamworld version of the city ruled over by the Duc. Here Edgar has hidden the scrolls.

The Trial of Edgar Wellington: Edgar in chains. Duc, known in Dream Lausanne as The Prince is prosecuting and a living bronze statue is presiding as Judge. A large crowd that practically worships the Prince is in audience. We act for the defence. The judge decides in our and Edgar’s favour. The Prince is incensed. We run. The crowd chases us. We make it to the dream version of Edgar’s shop. Edgar retrieves scrolls and gifts them to us for saving him. We outrun pursuing crowd to board a dream train and awake aboard the Orient Express with the scrolls in our possession.

Friday 18th January 1923

Sedefkar Scrolls: What we have is one of five scrolls. We have the Scroll of the Head. Authored in Turkish and Arabic by Sedefkar Osmanli before the 4th crusade (1202-1204). There is an English transcript with the scroll. Main details concern torture and skinning of human beings. The Skinless One is a god who came to Sedefkar Osmanli. Sedekar offered sacrifices to the Skinless One and created the Sedekar Simularcum statue.

Five Scrolls: Head-concerned with rites of torture; Belly-concerned with worship of the Skinless One; Legs-concerned with magic; Right Hand- concerned with ritual to wake the statue and its driving power; Left Hand- ritual to balance the power of the right hand.

The Duc: We go to breakfast car and the Duc awaits us. He demands the scroll. We dither. The Duc casts shrivelling on Ludwig (outrageous!!). We panic. Pierre hands over a fake scroll. The Duc vanishes into thin air. Ludwig permanently disfigured.


MILAN

Arrive 12.20 p.m. at Statzione Centrale Milan. Station is like a building site. Very few people about. Everywhere in Milan there is a pervasive apathetic and gloomy atmosphere. We check in at Hotel Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, rooms pre-paid by Caterina Cavallero. We have tickets for her performance tonight at La Scala Opera House.

Caterina Cavallero: Headline in the afternoon papers is the alleged abduction of Caterina Cavallero. Arturo Toscanini, Music Director of La Scala is reported to say he has received no contact from Caterina since she departed Paris for her journey to Milan.

We interview Caterina’s maid at her address on the Via San Carpoforo but gather little information except that Caterina got into a car waiting for her at the train station. Caterina would have expected La Scala to send a car to greet her there when she arrived in Milan.


.
"Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun" - Capt. E. Blackadder.
Last Edit: 2 years 3 months ago by Garuda.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 2 years 3 months ago #4746

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We still suiting and booting for tonight?!
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 2 years 3 months ago #4747

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Mr. B wrote:
We still suiting and booting for tonight?!

Though it would be great, I'd much prefer everyone attending so we can conclude Milan and Book 1, than concerning themselves with dressing for the Opera.

However dressed, I'll be giving out bonus dice anyway
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 2 years 2 months ago #4754

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Friday 18th Jan 1923

Hotel Galleria Vittoria Emanuele: At night, outside our hotel we hear the charming voice of Caterina Cavallero yet she is nowhere to be found.

Saturday 19th Jan 1923

Milan Police: Article in morning papers re murder of Alfa Romeo automobile worker, Ennio Spinola. His body found in an alleyway. After breakfast we proceed to the police station. Outside is a protest. Placards read ‘Justice for Ennio’. The police can tell us nothing of the Caterina Cavellero alleged kidnapping case. We learn from police that Ennio Spinola had arguments with co-workers over union matters and autopsy showed he suffered from tuberculosis. There are no suspects.

Conti Enterprises Warehouse: We visit place where Spinola’s body was discovered. Blood trail leads to warehouse of Conti Enterprises. Within is a maze of crates and at its centre a stone slab. We make out the bloody outlines of where two bodies had previously lain on the slab. We conclude Spinola was murdered here and body dumped afterward where it was later found. Office stationary gives an address in Turin for business owner Flavio Conti.

Flavio Conti: We learn he is a friend of La Scala Opera. He held a recent party to celebrate his recovery from tuberculosis. Attendees included fellow opera patrons: Mr. Nunzio Tocci, Mr & Mrs Matteo Sorrenti , Miss Angela Susco, Mr Arturo Faccia and Mrs Serena Spagnolo.

Torino: We travel to Conti’s apartment in Turin. Black Alfa Romeo outside. In the car is a scarf we recognise as belonging to Caterina Cavallero. Conti’s care assistant obstinately refuses us entry. The slim man blocks Banks with ease with a strong and cold unnatural touch. He mentions Ludwig’s scars almost knowingly of their origin and postures up as if he is a dangerous arcanist. Ludwig shoots the man dead.

Conti, a man in his sixties, is in a room upstairs. Beyond some gibberish (I wasn't listening) Conti’s only words of note was the mention of The Brothers of the Skin. Conti pulls a gun, Banks is grazed by a bullet. Pierre shoots Conti. Ludwig stems Conti’s wound. Notices recent chest scarring. An epiphany strikes Ludwig: Conti and Spinola had operation to swap their lungs on the stone slab at the warehouse. Conti’s consumption riddled lungs for Spinola’s healthy lungs.

In the apartment we find an Orient Express timetable with the arrival of Cavallero’s train in Milan circled. We find a diary – the last entry mentions a business contact named Faccia. Presumably Arturo Faccia, fellow patron of La Scala who attended Conti’s recent party. Cavallero is not here. We depart Turin, unconcerned with leaving behind a dead man and a badly injured Conti.

Milan: Back to hotel. Telegram from Beddowes waiting: Salzburg stop Count Colleredo Archives stop No information stop. Afternoon papers: La Scala’s Roserio Sorbello confirms tonight’s performance of Aida will go ahead with Cavallero’s understudy Maria Di Matina. Props Manager, Paolo Rishonti, is interviewed about the Costumer’s Curse. Costume Designers come and go too frequently. Props go missing. Accidents, injuries and illness.

La Scala: A few hours before curtain up we visit La Scala. (i) We see Arturo Toscanini, Director of La Scala. He’s too busy to talk. (ii) We see Paolo Rischonti, briefly drawn on Costumer’s Curse. Illnesses include Consumption, asthma, dermatitis. We suspect the presence of part of the Sedefkar Simulacrum may be at play. (iii) We see costume designer Louisa Visconti in her upstairs workshop. She’s aware of curse. Predecessors last only a few weeks each before leaving. Three seamstresses work in the workshop – almost identical dwarven women in black who speak as one. Nothing odd about that. There are six tailor’s dummies in the room with work-in- progress costumes on them. Visconti informs us Rischonti recently brought seven new tailor dummies from Paris. The seventh is bigger than the six here – its downstairs in props department. At this point we are asked to leave.

Aida: We return for the evening performance. Front row seats behind the orchestra pit. Aida is Egyptian themed. As Maria di Matina begins her aria performance, the audience joins in (a tradtion). To our right a tall man stands and sings beautifully with the voice of Caterina Cavallero. It is Arturo Faccia. He has recent throat scars. At his side sits a woman with similar scars and has a resemblance to Caterina.

On stage a spotlight falls on Ramases’ armour. It is being presented to him on a prop. We're certain armour is actually the torso of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. The cast exit stage right with the armour. We get up to leave. So too do Faccia, Cavellero and four heavies. Faccia and his mob try to force entry to theatre stage door. We enter via the fire escape. Fisticuffs with the heavies. We win. How did that happen? Hubert grabs the torso and escape with our prize. Back at the hotel Hubert complains all night of chest pains.

Sunday 20th Jan 1923

The Morning after the Night Before: The morning papers run an article regards the mystery of a dead man found on the roof of Milan’s cathedral. The body of Arturo Faccia was eviscerated. The work of the Devil someone called it. Police are perplexed as to how anybody could possibly have accessed the cathedral roof at night.

Later today we board the Orient Express once more, bound for Venice. Our luggage now includes two large trunks.
"Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun" - Capt. E. Blackadder.
Last Edit: 2 years 2 months ago by Garuda.
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Horror on the Orient Express - All Rotations 10 months 1 week ago #5413

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As you all are aware there were two tables for this game. Along with natural attrition, the pandemic, etc., I no longer see it viable to have two games going forward.

There I would like to propose the merging of the two games into one.

This should be straight forward to do as I was keen to ensure that both games were in the same place at the conclusion of the rotations.

Whilst there was some differences in what the players did, I don't see this as an issue, and information could freely be shared now

The players in the combined game would be: Mel, Stew, Dave, Garuda, Jim, Tony and Doug

So the question would be, is there any interest to returning to playing Horror on the Orient Express?

If enough players give the thumbs up I'd look to start up again in rotation 1 of next year
Last Edit: 10 months 5 days ago by Sarge.
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Garuda - Thu 19 May - 17:25

Sorry Ravenlanders, unable to make it tonight. See you next week.

mikeawmids - Thu 19 May - 14:51

lol, just realised party will be down both clerics, mwahahaha. :D

mikeawmids - Thu 19 May - 14:48

Thanks for the heads up. Have a good trip! We still have four players, so I think we are still good to game tonight.

Val - Thu 19 May - 13:37

Sorry Mike I won’t be going tonight either I will not be there next week either.

Bane - Thu 19 May - 10:20

Stonehell guys, I have to finish packing tonight, so I shall be bowing out for the next three weeks, see you guys on the 9th of June.

Inept - Wed 18 May - 22:53

as mentioned last week not around this week, being wined and dined by a client... (and possibl squeezing more jobs out of them!)

Inept - Thu 5 May - 22:14

apologies Ade, test positive for covid at 6.45, retested and still positive. No roleplaying for me tonight and no site visit tomorrow. have a good game

moc - Thu 21 Apr - 18:47

Still in Weston-super-Mare. Gobineers don't settle for meat platter. Demand KFC ! See you next t week

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