We are slowly starting up from another, holiday related hiatus, but the campaign is getting back into business.
As part of moving to the story’s conclusion, here is a general summary of the main plot points of the campaign so far. A lot has gone on over the years, but these are the main things to keep in mind to follow what’s unfolding:
One fragment of the Sedefkar Simulacrum remains to be found. There are hints suggesting a link between the fragment and pioneering archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who is buried in Trieste.
The Simulacrum can neither be fully activated or destroyed until all the fragments are gathered together.
As there is a ritual to awaken the full power of the Simulacrum, a Ritual of Ending to destroy it should be possible. Umar can put together a rough outline of such a ritual, but it would be very uncertain and risky to perform it without more study and knowledge. Some important sources of this dangerous knowledge include:
- Albert Alexis, dilettante mathematical sorcerer, currently staying at Arturo Faccia’s villa, recovering from a sojourn in the Dreamlands.
- The Sedefkar Scrolls, particularly the Scroll of the Right Hand, which describes the Ritual of Enactment for the fully awakening the power of the Simulacrum.
- General dark occult lore, i.e., Mythos Points.
The Investigators are increasingly suffering the effects of the Baleful Influence that results from being linked to the Simulacrum. The Scroll of the Left Han, contains the Ritual of Cleansing which balances the Baleful Influence.
The Investigators possess The Scroll of the Head. The other four Scrolls, according to official records, are in the Topkapi Museum in Constantinople, sent there from the British Museum after the War. It is quite likely though that they have ended up in the hands of Selim Makryat.
The family is run by Selim Makryat, who has controlled a vast network of both legitimate businesses and criminal operations for many decades. He is also a dark sorcerer who discovered some of the secrets of the Simulacrum and has been attempting to gather more of its power by any means.
Selim has reformed an ancient cult called the Brothers of the Skin. To many this cult is just an intimidating mask for a criminal gang, but behind that facade is Selim’s true quest for power and world dominion.
Some of the Brothers are becoming discontented with how Selim’s occult obsessions are getting in the way of profitable crime.
Umar’s Uncle Sayad has communicated with this faction and knows a way to contact their leader.
Since the Simulacrum began to awaken, Selim has become more determined and active in his goals, and has become a public figure protesting British interference in Turkey, as well as quietly gathering followers as a messianic figure.
The elder Makryat does not leave Constantinople, but works through his son, Mehmet Makryat, who is well known as an international businessman.
Mehmet uses spells from The Scroll of the Legs to produce flesh masks that allow his minions to take on his appearance and act for him. He also appears to have a limited ability to take on other faces, and to steal the flesh from others to wear as disguises.
Division of Research Operations
This branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service, under the authority of MI6, was formed in the 18th Century to deal with the newly discovered truth of vampires. After the War it expanded to protect the Empire from supernatural dangers in general.
Investigator Emily Johnson is an agent of the Division, assigned to a Field Handler known only as Miss Avon.
Miss Avon is working with Italian industrialist Arturo Faccia to safely contain the Simulacrum in a magically warded vault until means of destroying it can be arranged.
Faccia was a former ally of the Makryat’s, but is now working with the Division and the Investigators, believing he can learn how to harness the mysterious energy known as “vril” by studying the Simulacrum.
It has revealed that the Division has a secret program called “Project Edom” that seeks to not only protect the Empire, but develop new technology and weapons from occult sources.
The French Compte Fenalik is the most recent guise of an ancient vampiric creature. He awoke this year, along with the Simulacrum, after a century of imprisoned dormancy.
He claims the Simulacrum is his personal possession and seeks its return.
The Investigators magically bound the vampire in a cave outside of Paris.
Unable to act directly, Fenalik sent his vampire spawn Lily to follow and occasionally aid the Investigators. She also continually reminded them they how better off they would be by freeing her “father” and returning the Simulacrum to him, thus escaping its dangers.
Lily recently abruptly collapsed into a rotten corpse while screaming that someone was taking away her father.
These “Outer Ones” are an extraterrestrial race that has operated on Earth for ages, occasionally meddling with human affairs, perhaps becoming the truth behind legends of bargain-making demons, faerie, and djinn.
A Mi-go base was found by the Metzger family in central Austria, and Gregor Metzger mastered enough its secrets to gain a certain immortality.
These beings know of the Simulacrum and the cataclysmic cosmic “Procession” that it summons.
They are also aware of the Investigators and given them a cryptic message to tell the “Tabernacle” that the time of his purpose will soon be here.
The Investigators recovered a medallion from the Austria base that seems to a summoning device/spell of some sort.
Shortly after the Investigators left the base it was destroyed in a gigantic Tunguska-like explosion that killed thousands and was publicly blamed on a meteorite impact.
Prof Julius Smith
After an earlier encounter with Selim Makryat, Prof. Smith discovered the existence of the Simulacrum and planned an expedition to uncover the fragments and find a way to destroy them.
After the fragments unexpectedly began awakening, Makryat attacked Smith’s home to kill him and steal his research.
Smith managed to escape, but an imposter took his place to trick the Investigators into taking on the mission, facing the dangers of the Simulacrum and baring the curse of the Baleful Influence.
The real Smith sought help from his network of contacts to stay undercover, eventually reuniting with his old acquaintance, Umar’s Uncle Sayed.
Together they have been working to research the Simulacrum and the plans of the Makryat family.
Smith has been leading an archaeological investigation of Roman ruins that he believes hold secrets of the Simulacrum.
Sayed has studying the history of the Brothers of the Skin, and the ancient cults that preceded it. The intensity of his work and the secrets he’s uncovered has led to a state of nervous exhaustion and paranoia.
Order of The Red Maidens
During the Middle Ages an order of warrior nuns began defending Italian settlements from supernatural dangers while ofﬁcial military powers were off on the Crusades.
They were organized as part the Order of the Saint Agatha, but there are suggestions and rumors that their origins lead back to an Egyptian cult centered around the cat-goddess Bast.
A nun named Melisende was involved in the breaking of Sedefkar’s power in 13th Century Constantinople. After the Simulacrum was stolen by Fenalik, then using the name Brother Merovac, Melisende attempted to track him down, a mission that led her to the Mi-go base in Austria where she met a fate difﬁcult to put into words.
By the 18th Century the Red Maidens were based in Venice and were guarding the Torso of the Simulacrum. They were also seeking other fragments in order to seal their evil away as well.
The Order appears to have persisted until 1915 when their last convent was bombed during the War.
When the Investigators arrived in Venice in 1923 something that claimed to be the ghostly spirit of Melisende began possessing the body of young Maria Stagliani. The spirit believed that attempting to destroy the Simulacrum was futile and the best plan was to hide the fragments in such remote places that they could never be gathered together.
The possessing spirit on occasion has appeared to be the manifestation of some far greater than a mere ghost, and has warned of a coming apocalypse, and not to trust the various factions who have become involved with seeking the Simulacrum.
Inspired by the story of the Red Maidens, Miss Crispin has suggested the formation of a new organization that would use the skills and resources of British weapon to help the Homefront. Miss Avon agreed that this was a good idea and has lobbied the British Government to start such a program.
The orphaned Maria, lacking any family or prospects in Italy, has, on Miss Crispin’s advice, greed to emigrate to England and join this program.