Horror On The Orient Express

London and Venice 1923, Interlude 02

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Suspicious and worried, the Investigators decided to make a detour in their mission and find out what been happening with their patron, Prof Smith, back in London. They arranged airline passage to throw off anybody watching or tracking them. Before setting off they visited the Simulacrum’s vault in Venice and placed the befuddled Albert Alexis into Arturo Faccia’s care.

They found the Simulacrum pieces safe, but Faccia had asked German scientist and occultist Heinrich Glessler to study the effect that the mere presence of the statue has on the space and energy around it. Faccia and Glessler booth believe that studying the simulacrum is the key to master the secrets of vril energy, which could lead to a new revolution in industry and technology. Glessler wished to study the statue directly but Dr. Wilke and the others forbade this.

Faccia later asked Miss Crispin if she would speak with the young Maria, whom Faccia had been caring for. Maria had been worried what to do with her life, though Miss Avon had offered to take her to England to be a part of the organization of women she has been forming, at Miss Crispin’s suggestion, to assist the Homefront battle against supernatural troubles. Miss Crispin advised that this is a good idea. Maria thanked her – but Miss Crispin found herself speaking to something… else manifesting through Maria. This entity warned Miss Crispin of a coming war, and hoped that she will be ready to participate when the time comes. She warned her not to trust either Caesar, or those old forces that lurk in the skies. Miss Crispin woke in her bed, her memories of what was real and what was a dream blurred.

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After a cold and bumpy flight, the Investigators arrived in London and paid a surprise visit to Violet, their only contact with Smith. She reported that Smith’s butler Beddows has been relaying messages and is the only person who knows his hiding place. Beddows was reluctant to reveal anything, but Dr. Wilke convinced him of their dedication to help Smith, and the loyal butler broke down in tears, expressing how strangely Smith has been acting, hardly eating or sleeping, pouring all his effort in to mysterious research and study. Dr. Wilke attempted a divination spell on an old pocket watch given by Smith, and got an unsettling impression that Smith may be far away, near old stone and fresh dirt.

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Following Beddows’ direction, Miss Johnson drove the group across the bleak English countryside, to a run down, ill-maintained manor house. Beddows showed them in, and up to the second floor library where Prof. Smith had been spending all his time. An unused bed and untouched meals indicated Smith had neither slept nor ate since Beddows had last been there. Dr. Wilke barged in, ignoring the wheel chair bound Smith’s demands to be left to his important studies. While Dr. Wilke confronted him, Miss Crispin approached and pulled off the blanket and hood that covered Smith, revealing a bone, wax, metal, and magic construct.

Standing at the entrance to the library, Miss Johnson was attacked by a burly man in a clay mask, with a second one close behind. While the Investigators fought off these hambaba, a terrified Violet fled the manor house. The building then shook with a crack of thunder. Out in front of the house, a small truck – apparently the vehicle of the attackers — had been destroyed by a terrific force. Miss Johnson ran out to check on any survivors, only to glimpse what seemed like a large, metallic beetle perched on the roof. It fired its thunderbolt weapon again, but targeted the last remnants of the attackers’ truck, rather than Miss Johnson or the Investigators’ own vehicle. Their car had been knocked on its side by the blasts, but Dr. Wilke used his sorcery to upright it. Umar and Miss Crispin helped Beddows and Violet out to the car, and they drove off, thunderbolts striking in their wake.

Their fears about Prof. Smith confirmed, the Investigators decided to try located the “real” Smith. Their only lead is Umar’s Uncle Sayed, an old acquaintance of Smith. But when Umar attempts to contact him, it seems Sayed himself has disappeared while conducting investigators in the Yugoslavian city of Vinkovici…

Comments

I gather this is not the new 7th edition campaign module. Is it the original one? Im surprised there are so many differences.

 

We use the new edition of the campaign as starting point, but a lot of differences have developed over the course of play.

The first big difference is using “Trail of Cthulhu” rules rather than “Call of Cthulhu.” I’m also incorporating bits and pieces from other sources and scenarios where they seem to fit. I like to include more traditional Lovecraftian content, since the published campaign has very little of that.

Mostly though I’ve tried allow a lot of player freedom and let their choices shape the story. I’ve played Horror on the Orient Express as an Investigator and found its strict, linear structure pretty frustrating. So I’m letting our campaign evolving as it will, leading to something different, though I hope keeping a lot of the original experience. One of my big influences are the improvised, player driven scenarios described in games such as “The Armitage Files” and “The Dracula Dossier.”

Samwise

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